Book Review: The Athena Effect (The Athena Effect #1) by Derrolyn Anderson

Country girl Cali has been kept a secret her entire life, raised in isolation by two very troubled people. Despite her parent’s disturbing fits, Cal is perfectly content, living at one with the nature that surrounds her, and finding adventure inside the pages of her beloved books. When an awful tragedy tears her away from her remote cabin in the woods, nothing she’s ever read has prepared her for a world that she knows very little about.

Girls and motorcycles are what bad-boy Cal’s life is all about. Brought up in a raucous party house by his biker brother, he’s free to do as he pleases, going through the motions on his final days of high school. Aimless, Cal stopped thinking about his future a long time ago.

Attacked by a gang of thugs while running an errand for his brother, Cal is in serious trouble until a fierce girl appears out of nowhere to intervene. She chases off three grown men, sparing Cal a brutal beating before disappearing into the night like a spirit. He can’t stop thinking about his mysterious rescuer, and when she turns out to be the weird new girl at school who goes out of her way to avoid him, he can’t contain his curiosity.

He’s never met anyone like her before, and the more he learns about the unusual girl who shares his nickname, the more he wants to know. Cal can’t help falling for Cal, but can he keep her from falling victim to a dangerous enemy from her parent’s tragic past?

Release Date: August 30, 2012
Age Group: YA
Source: Review copy from author

I really enjoy Derrolyn Anderson's writing, so I was excited to read her latest work, The Athena Effect.  (Read my reviews of her paranormal YA series Marina's Tales here).  I thought the summary was so intriguing, even more so that Cali and Calvin share a name, well, at least a nickname (they both go by Cal). 

I love reading about tough female main characters, and Cali fit the bill to a tee.  She's resourceful, strong and independent.  And that's not even considering her gift!  Cali can manipulate the emotions of the people around her.  At first, she thinks her gift only works on animals, but as the book progresses, she realizes she can change the emotions of humans too.  Cali sees emotion as colors, like an aura around a person, and I thought that part of the book was really unique and well-done.  I liked seeing people's emotions as colors, as it added another layer of interest to the story.

At first, Cal seemed to be your typical bad boy.  But there was more to him than met the eye, and he and Cali become friends (slowly on her part and not fast enough for him).  I liked the slow progression to the love story.  Anything quicker would have been unrealistic, considering Cali's sheltered upbringing.  There was a lot of world-building in The Athena Effect, which did slow the story down at the beginning for me.  But, that just means that the sequel will be even better because all the groundwork has been laid.  

If you like contemporary YA or paranormal YA, The Athena Effect is a great mix of both.  I am looking forward to where Anderson takes the series!

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