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The Mark

Review

The Mark

Cassandra Renfield had a rough start to her 16 years. Her parents died in an accident when she was just two, but she grew up under the love and care of her maternal grandmother, Nan. Now it’s just the two of them. And with Nan getting older, she is often rushed to the hospital for her diabetes. So now they take care of each other.

Ever since Cassie can remember, she has occasionally caught sight of a strange glow around a person. She never knew what it meant, but then something happens to plant a seed of suspicion. During one of Nan’s trips to the hospital, Cassie sees “the Mark” on Nan’s roommate. The next day, Cassie learns that the roommate has passed away. She decides to test her suspicion and follows the next person she sees with the Mark. Sure enough, he dies before the day ends. And then she sees the Mark on Nan.

Already at the hospital for Nan’s diabetes, Cassie and Nan convince the doctor to run further tests. But the tests turn up negative, so they do the only thing they can: try to enjoy each other’s company for the short hours they have left. And the Mark fulfills its promise --- before the day ends, Nan dies.

Nan’s will leaves Cassie enough money to live on, and the lawyer thinks Cassie can get emancipated minor status. But strangely, the will insists that Cassie go and live with an aunt she never knew she had for an entire three months. Cassie doesn’t understand, but she follows Nan’s instructions.

While staying with her aunt, Cassie begins to learn some shocking things about her parents --- and she digs deeper to find out more. She also signs up for a philosophy class at the local college and falls for her teaching assistant, Lucas. All of which cause Cassie to examine her “gift,” trying to figure out the moral obligations involved. Why does she have this ability? Should she try to warn those with the Mark? This moral dilemma begins to haunt Cassie, leading her to search deep into her own life for some much needed answers.

THE MARK is Jen Nadol’s first novel, and she debuts with flying colors. Not only does her book reach out and grab hold, never letting go even after the last page, she builds up and presents intense ideas and questions about life and morality, and the debate between predestination and choice. Nadol offers a unique look at some interesting relationships, like the special closeness shared between Cassie and Nan that is wounded by the many deeply buried secrets and the romantic yet thought-provoking bond between Cassie and Lucas.

Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman on January 19, 2010

The Mark
by Jen Nadol

  • Publication Date: August 30, 2011
  • Genres: Paranormal, Romance, Urban Fantasy
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
  • ISBN-10: 1599906600
  • ISBN-13: 9781599906607