When fifteen-year-old Krystal Bentley moves to Lincoln, Connecticut, her mom's hometown, she assumes her biggest drama will be adjusting to the burbs after living in New York City. But Lincoln is nothing like Krystal imagined. The weirdness begins when Ricky Watson starts confiding in her. He's cute, funny, a good listener—and everything she'd ever want—except that he was killed nearly a year ago. Krystal's ghost-whispering talents soon lead other "freaks" to her door—Sasha, a rich girl who can literally disappear, and Jake, who moves objects with his mind. All three share a distinctive birthmark in the shape of an M and, fittingly, call themselves the Mystyx. They set out to learn what really happened to Ricky, only to realize that they aren't the only ones with mysterious powers. But if Krystal succeeds in finding out the truth about Ricky's death, will she lose him for good?
In her debut YA novel, Artist Arthur writes a suspense filled story that had me reading non-stop and left me wanting more.
Manifest’s cultural diverse cast of characters and its paranormal mystery is a definite treat. It is also a terrific coming of age story. While Krystal does come off as snarky especially with her mother and new step-father, I was not put off by this at all. After all, she has been uprooted from NYC to a small town in Connecticut, she hasn’t a clue why her mother divorced her father, and she has a ghost badgering her for help. I’m thinking I might be a bit cranky too. Eventually, Krystal learns all the particulars of her parent’s break-up, and to her credit Krystal makes amends.
The plot revolves around Ricky a ghost who has asked Krystal to help him figure out who murdered him. As Krystal begins to understand why it is that she is able to see ghosts, she also begins to make friends with Sasha and Jake who like her have abilities that are manifesting and are tied to a mysterious birth-mark that all three of them have. Together they attempt to not only help Ricky, but to seek out answers about themselves.
I found Arthur’s characters completely relatable and the dialog authentic. The addition of sex-texting added a creep factor to the mystery and helped build tension. Arthur also threw in enough red herrings that it took me a few false guesses before I figured out who killed Ricky.
Since this is the first book in a series, there are of course a lot of questions left unanswered, about Kyrstal and her friend’s abilities, but I am sure that Arthur will provide more in the next book.
I thoroughly enjoyed Manifest. It is a great addition to the YA genre appealing not only to those who love the paranormal, but mysteries too.
Source: ARC copy received through We Love YA Tours