But what’s that saying about “The best laid plans” … well, needless to say, I did read Ask Me in a single sitting. In the same day. And stayed up until midnight to do so. Because sometimes a book is so captivating, the characters so engaging, and the plot so enticing that you can’t just put it down and go to sleep. Such was the case with Ask Me.
Ask Aria Morse anything, and she must answer with the truth. Yet she rarely understands the cryptic words she‘s compelled to utter. Blessed—or cursed—with the power of an Oracle who cannot decipher her own predictions, she does her best to avoid anyone and everyone.
But Aria can no longer hide when Jade, one of the few girls at school who ever showed her any kindness, disappears. Any time Aria overhears a question about Jade, she inadvertently reveals something new, a clue or hint as to why Jade vanished. But like stray pieces from different puzzles, her words never present a clear picture.
Then there’s Alex, damaged and dangerous, but the first person other than Jade to stand up for her. And Will, who offers a bond that seems impossible for a girl who’s always been alone. Both were involved with Jade. Aria may be the only one who can find out what happened, but the closer she gets to solving the crime, the more she becomes a target. Not everyone wants the truth to come out.
Ask Me hooked me from the very first page, as a mysterious narrator describes hitting and killing a man with his car on purpose. The narrator is so casual in this description, so blase about the whole matter. It’s shocking – and yet the narrator’s demeanor so calm. As a reader, I immediately wanted to know more — only to have this twisted, murderous, captivating narrator taken away from me on the very next page.
Then we meet Aria — who is just as captivating in her own, less murderous way. Sure, she’s an angsty teen — but with a damn good reason for her angst. She’s an oracle, after all, and can’t help herself from responding to questions (any question) with often mysterious answers. This “gift” has made her something of a social pariah — but as she fights to unravel the mystery of her friend’s death, Aria blossoms as a character. We see growth, development, strength.
And even though I figured out the identity of the murderer before the actual “reveal” — it didn’t matter. There was still so much mystery layered into the story, that I had to keep reading. I had to know more. Motives and reasons and emotions were all at stake, and these questions kept me turning the pages of Ask Me until the whole truth was revealed.
Perfect for fans of Kimberly Derting’s The Body Finder series, Ask Me is a masterful new addition to the YA shelves. Pauley weaves together the thriller and paranormal genres, tossing in a dose of romance and the charm that is an earmark of all her books, creating a story that is wholly engaging and delightful to read. It’s not an easy feat to combine a toe-curling romance with edge-of-your-seat thrills, but Pauley does so masterfully.
And though it appears Ask Me is (for now, at least) a standalone novel — I would gladly, happily read more adventures featuring Aria and her friends.
Ask Me is in stores April 8th.