Published: March 7th, 2017 by Entangled Teen | Series: Anastasia Phoenix #1 | Length: 400 pages | Genre: YA, mystery, contemporary | Source: I received an eARC from YA Reads and Entangled Teen via NetGalley as part of the blog tour. | Possible Triggers: Violence, some comments re: sexual harassment/assault (not detailed)
Summary from Goodreads:
Some secrets are best kept hidden…
Anastasia Phoenix has always been the odd girl out, whether moving from city to international city with her scientist parents or being the black belt who speaks four languages.
And most definitely as the orphan whose sister is missing, presumed dead.
She’s the only one who believes Keira is still alive, and when new evidence surfaces, Anastasia sets out to follow the trail—and lands in the middle of a massive conspiracy. Now she isn’t sure who she can trust. At her side is Marcus, the bad boy with a sexy accent who’s as secretive as she is. He may have followed her to Rome to help, but something about him seems too good to be true.
Nothing is as it appears, and when everything she’s ever known is revealed to be a lie, Anastasia has to believe in one impossibility.
She will find her sister.
First of all, I wanted to give a big thank you to Ya Reads Blog Tours for including me in the tour for this book. I really ended up enjoying this and I’m so glad I got the opportunity to review it! Make sure you check out the other tour stops.
As I already mentioned, I really enjoyed this book. I’ve been in the mood for mysteries/thrillers lately, so this was a perfect choice. While the first half of the book was good, the second half of was great. It had me so desperate to keep turning the pages and see what was going to happen next. I’m just going to apologize in advance for how ridiculously long this review is. Oops.
The plot itself is really intricate. Once I found out what had happened, I’d look back on earlier scenes and see clues that had been thrown in here and there. I think re-reading this after you knew how it ended would be really interesting because I have a feeling you’d notice a lot more that you didn’t pick up on the first time around. There were some things that were a bit predictable (I had figured out one of the big “twists” way back in the first chapter), but there were also a lot of things that I didn’t even come close to predicting. It’ll definitely surprise you and keep you on the edge of your seat.
There were two things that I wasn’t the biggest fan of and which kept this from being a five-star read for me. First, there was a deaf character who helps Anastasia, Charlotte, and Marcus in the beginning of the book that was kind of a throw-away character which I wasn’t a fan of. I liked having a deaf character included and it would’ve been nice if she wasn’t used as a plot device, but had actually been incorporated more into the story (or just left out altogether).
My other problem is with the romance. Now, I liked the love interest so that’s not the problem I had with it. But the romance is very “hot and cold” which is just something that I personally really don’t like. One minute Anastasia is making out with him and the next she’s talking about how she can’t afford to be distracted and distances herself from him. This is probably a personal taste thing rather than a real problem with the book, but again, it was something that I didn’t like. It makes the romance between the two characters feel rushed and under-developed to me.
Anastasia was a great character. I can see why some readers would get annoyed with her because she can be very whiny and kind of dramatic, but I didn’t mind because her reactions felt very real and reasonable to me. I mean, her sister – the only family member she has left – has gone missing and everyone thinks she’s dead and therefore isn’t trying to find her. I think it’s okay for her to complain about it, haha. Overall, she was a very realistic character – you can see how much she cares for her sister and even though she doesn’t always make the best decisions, she refuses to back down and that’s something I really admire in characters.
I also really appreciated how the author handled the aftermath of traumatic events. Anastasia is very affected by her sister’s disappearance (and presumed death) and I thought the ways in which she shows this were pretty realistic. She’s very depressed at first and even once she gets over that initial depression, the trauma still affects her. Simple things trigger those memories and make her feel guilty. I won’t go into specifics because I don’t want to risk spoiling things, but I definitely wanted to mention how realistic the impact of the trauma was.
Finally, I simply loved that a lot of the story takes place in Boston and that there are tons of references to BU. I’m currently a senior at BU and it’s honestly just really fun to me when I’m reading a book and see all these little references that I can pick up on and relate to. It just added a little something extra to my experience.
Overall, this was a really interesting and captivating book and I’m really glad that I had the chance to read it. I’ll be eagerly awaiting the next book in the series! If you’re a fan of mysteries, this is definitely a book to check out.
There’s also a giveaway being included in this blog tour with a really fun prize: you get to name one of the secondary characters in the next book! Sounds pretty cool, if you ask me. Click HERE to enter!