Book Review: A Season of Transformation by Jayne Fordham

Title: A Season of Transformation 
Author: Jayne Fordham
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Contemporary 
Publication Date: March 2011
Pages: 258
Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
A Season of Transformation is a young adult fantasy/ romance novel set in the contemporary world. It is the story of five young people drawn together to complete a Quest, to protect their town from destruction. In order to defeat the story’s villain, Maxvale, the five virtual strangers must come together and not only forge a bond of trust but become proficient with the ‘abilities’ temporarily bestowed upon them.

In the midst of the lead up to the battle each of the young people has their own personal struggles they are trying to deal with. Lucas, an adopted and bitter teenager struggles to become the person he wants to be whilst developing feelings for Makenna, a rich kid who doesn’t like his attitude. Bonnie is a ‘gothic’ that is dealing with an alcoholic father, Ben the school nerd and Adam the class clown are trying to break free from their high school stereotypes. Can these five teens put their differences aside to defeat Maxvale and save their town?

My Review:

Five teenagers – a geek (Ben), a bad boy (Lucas), a class clown (Adam), a goth (Bonnie) and a rich kid (Makenna) – are all drawn together. Not knowing why, they all feel the urge to visit the Carnival. Unbeknownst to them, their ancestors have buried a box containing a letter – a letter stating that they are the only hope their town has against Maxvale, a man the ancestors defeated all those years ago but somehow has the power to come back and terrorize the town.

After digging up and opening the mysterious box, the teenagers all develop special abilities that are supposed to help them in fighting Maxvale.

Bonnie, the girl who feels like nobody knows she exists, gets invisibility. Quick-witted Adam who fires off jokes at the speed of light can now run kilometres in seconds. Ben, the nerd of the group, who has always excelled in school is now able to memorize textbooks in a heartbeat. Bad Boy Lucas who is repeating year 11 and is living with a foster family can walk though walls. Makenna, the final member of the group and narrator of the novel, is gifted with telekinesis – the ability to move objects with her mind.

I enjoyed reading this novel. It felt a little like The Breakfast Club meets X-Men. Makenna is the narrator and tells the story in first person present tense. I can’t remember the last time I read a book in this style and it took me a little while to get used to it. But once I was used to it, I could appreciate that it suited the novel. There were a few point of view changes – from Makenna to a third person – and I liked that it gave me a little more insight into the other teenagers but I felt like it took me out of it a little and I felt a little detached from the novel after the switch.

The powers that the teenagers get are perfectly suited for their personalities. I really liked how they all came together to help each other in the mission to find and destroy Maxvale. I did feel like the mission was a little rushed in the end but it was appropriate for the villain (He’s not as big and bad as I was expecting. I wanted him to be ferocious and terrifying and completely town destroying… rather than a bit of a pussy cat…).

The strength of this novel is the development of the characters throughout. I loved how they grew as people and as friends. There’s a message of stereotyping and that people are not always what they seem at first glance. The relationship between Makenna and Lucas was lovely to read – I liked the pace and the fact that they did have their struggles. These characters (all of them) were written in a way that did make them likeable and realistic. Many of the issues that were faced were ones that I have faced myself in my youth. I also enjoyed the Aussie-isms inserted into the novel – things like petrol being it’s cheapest on Tuesdays, the P plates etc.

I thought this was a fantastic debut novel by a self-published author. It was entertaining and interesting and I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys young adult paranormal fiction with an Australian flavour.

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