Paperback, 336 pages
Expected publication: November 5th 2013 by Strange Chemistry
Source: Net Galley
Meet Meda. She eats people.
Well, technically, she eats their soul. But she totally promises to only go for people who deserve it. She’s special. It’s not her fault she enjoys it. She can’t help being a bad guy. Besides, what else can she do? Her mother was killed and it’s not like there are any other “soul-eaters” around to show her how to be different. That is, until the three men in suits show up.
They can do what she can do. They’re like her. Meda might finally have a chance to figure out what she is. The problem? They kind of want to kill her. Before they get the chance Meda is rescued by crusaders, members of an elite group dedicated to wiping out Meda’s kind. This is her chance! Play along with the “good guys” and she’ll finally figure out what, exactly, her ‘kind’ is.
Be careful what you wish for. Playing capture the flag with her mortal enemies, babysitting a teenage boy with a hero complex, and trying to keep one step ahead of a too-clever girl are bad enough. But the Hunger is gaining on her.
The more she learns, the worse it gets. And when Meda uncovers a shocking secret about her mother, her past, and her destiny… she may finally give into it.
There are many, many reasons to love Cracked but the most important one, for me, is Meda. I like my female protagonists, though not necessarily in a physical sense, slightly crazy and very amusing. All the better if they are quirky and eccentric. Meda fits all these bills to a tee. Usually when non-human protagonists show up in YA fiction, the readers are told that they are not human but the manner in which they act and their thought processes are human so there’s a disconnect in their so-called lack of humanity and their actions/interactions. In Meda’s case, while outwardly she’s human, her inner self is delightfully other. She has these thought processes that are a delight to read. Her sense of humour is irreverent and her interactions with humans are always carried out with an awareness of her otherness, her difference.
The friendships in this novel is another reason I love this book. Especially the female friendships. I’ve gone over this subject enough times to sound like a broken record but honestly, we need positive portrayals of friendship between strong females in YA fiction, if only to show readers that two strong girls can be friends without needing one half of the equation to be inferior in some way. Jo and Meda get along about as well as a seal and a fish would and the friction between them is hilarious as Meda figures out Jo’s weak points and presses all her buttons at once. But as the novel progresses and both girls come to terms with what’s important to them, they find a common ground and end up not just tolerating each other but grudgingly admitting that they actually like the other. It’s wonderful and fun. There are other friendships that are not as sweet but still effective and Uri will always have a special part in my heart.
The romance in this one is…amusing. Meda is a great manipulator but I like how she clear she is about her feelings. I love that while there is not central romance, what there is of it is once again, amusing and satisfying. There is a glimpse of someone at the end of the novel who will probably prove a match for Meda at the end so I’m looking forward to the next book.
All in all, this book gives quite an entertaining read. It made me laugh and it made me sad. It has substance to it and it asks some important questions about the nature of humanity and good versus evil. Mostly importantly, it made me chuckle out loud. There need to be more books like this one out there. Crewe’s debut marks her as an author to look out for and I cannot wait to see what she comes up with next. Definitely recommended.