"The preserve seemed to sparkle underneath the moonlight and the on-off-on of tiny, blinking actions bore excitement in the twilight like melodic offerings from creative beings seeking new friends."

The solitary hero has long held the premier spot in action literature. Sure, he or she may have a few side characters who offer a bit of assistance now and then, but when it comes to saving the day readers know that it will be the lead protagonist who will grab all of the glory. In contrast, Smith's book embraces more of The Avengers mindset, underscoring the importance of working together as a team to gain the victory rather than relying mainly on the individual's effort. The result is a book that celebrates loyalty, friendship, and unity.

Jordan, Rhee, Kinsu, Chase, and Alex are high school friends in the small town of Danville Heights. The night after three of the boys have helped give their community a regional football championship, the five friends decide to do something considered taboo by the majority of the townsfolk and enter the mysterious, forest-like preserve. But something otherworldly awaits them among the trees. It's a force that will give each of them an enhanced ability with one of the five senses. Bonded together like bodily senses, the boys soon respond to a strange tug to venture out at night to defend the weak and battle evil in neighboring Sandry Lake. Yet just as the five can sense each other, so, too, can three others sense them, and one of the trio is a killer.

Smith's book blends action and mystery with elements of the paranormal. Additionally, the novel overflows with positive thematic pointers relating to the importance of family, honesty, responsibility, etc. such as the second-quarter reminder by the coach to his struggling team that "the only way you survive is through faith and character." More than anything else, the presence of these moments of encouragement make her story worth reading.

Return to USR Home