PUBLICATION DATE: AUGUST 1, 2010
hen Chris’ parents divorced, he decided to leave Illinois and move with his mom to Solitary, North Carolina. He left behind a comfortable life and many friends knowing he’d have to make a few adjustments. On his first day of high school he met and was instantly mesmerized by the exceptionally beautiful Jocelyn Evans. Things with her were just a little off though. The more he tried to pursue her, the more she resisted, but ironically, the more she resisted, the closer they became. Eventually Chris begins to understand her reluctance to accept him as well as her often eradicate behavior.
Though her actions begin to make more sense, the town itself does not. There are secrets hidden and those willing to kill to keep them buried. With everyone warning him to stay away from Jocelyn, but no one explaining why, Chris endangers his and his mom’s life to pursue her and rescue her from a sinister fate. In a dark and haunting tale, Solitary delivers a realistic teen novel, where impulse and drama rule and common sense often takes a backseat.
I promise I mean this as a compliment. I don’t know which is scarier, the town of Solitary or the drama of the teenagers’ lives. As an adult reading a teen book, I probably laughed at parts that weren’t supposed to be funny, but were way too reminiscent of the teenage years to not be humorous. Needless to say, teens will easily connect with these characters and sympathize with their struggles.
For the most part, I enjoyed the story. Romance isn’t my thing, so the back and forth between Jocelyn and Chris got a bit tiresome, especially when it interfered with suspension of disbelief. Chris seemed to be more discerning than his actions indicated, so after awhile his continuation to fall for deception in relation to Jocelyn seemed unrealistic. Regardless, Solitary did a good job of capturing the insecurities of teenage ‘love’.
This is an exceptionally well written story, especially for teen fiction. The suspense was well maintained and the environment perfect. The setting was wonderfully described and added a nice layer of chill to an already dark story. The writing was not insulting and with the exception of the teen presence it read much like Thrasher’s adult novels.
The ending is not particularly wrapped up. I’m not sure where this series is going. By the time Solitary ends, the reader understands a great deal more about the town, most of which is revealed in the closing chapters. However, there’s a pretty big empty hole that leaves virtually everything unresolved and the possibilities are endless as to how this series could progress. There are some strong spiritual elements that were well planted and begging to be expanded upon in future books. With a great setting, strong plot, and endless possibilities, this looks to be a very promising series.