Series: The Nature of Grace, Book 1
Author: S. R. Johannes
Source: Purchased copy
Fave quote: "Life is short. Be sure to make your mark."
Book Photo and Goodreads info on Untraceable.
I actually read this book a while back, when I was on a reading but not review streak. So this review might be rather sparse. But you simply must know that I truly enjoyed Untraceable by S. R. Johannes. To start with the cover is beautiful, a little creepy with the girl peeking out through the greenery but beautiful nonetheless.
First, I must say that I am familiar with the setting of Untraceable in Smoky Mountains near Cherokee, North Carolina. That area is about three hours from my home base so I've been there many times for family vacays and church retreats. It is really incredible any time of year; lush and green in the spring and summer, fabulous fall foliage in autumn, and crisp, cold and possibly even icy and snow covered in winter. I always appreciate when I can really visualize a location in a novel. It just brings a level of realness to the story for me. I'm even including a couple of snappies from my past trips to the area to set the Untraceable mood.
Now, I'm not saying I'm ready to be hiking up the mountains with Grace but I can at least imagine her doing it now.
Back to the book at hand. I really thought the "survival tips" at the beginning of each chapter was an excellent touch. For example, "Survival Skill # 10: If lost, do not be impulsive. Patience can be the difference between life and death."
There is a mystery element (multiple intertwining mysteries actually) that runs through the book that kept me turning the pages! But balancing out that need to know urgency while reading was all the traumatic sadness and betrayals. Poor Grace never knew who she could trust and every time she tried to trust someone that person would prove to be untrustworthy, or at the very least not what they seemed.
Also, she never seemed to catch a good break. She'd get some good info and no one would believe her or she'd find what she was looking for only to have it slip away again. Grace is one of those characters that would probably be really mad at her author if they ever got the chance to meet.
Untraceable does not have a "happy ending." But I think sometimes more books need to need on less than perfect notes. We don't always live happily ever after. Stuff happens (well lots of stuff in Grace's life) but that's how we grow as people, through the STUFF.
I also thought it was cool how Untraceable is an "environmental thriller." It's awesome that a YA book took on another, more comprehensive issue than just why or why not the main female character doesn't have a boyfriend. Untraceable deals with questionable ethics from adults and community "leaders." Untraceable is about standing up for what's right even at the risk to one's self.
Lastly, there is a boy. Le sigh. The boy. I actually kind of love the boy, even though he is totally sketchy! He's conflicted but brave and totes crush worthy. He's an outdoors man of sorts and smart AND he has a swoon worthy English accent! LOVE!
I give Untraceable 4 out of 5 stars. A very good read by an author from my home state of Georgia. Also, currently the time of this post Untraceable is available on Kindle for $0.99. This is a real steal of deal for some good reading material!
Author S.R. Johannes and Me at YallFest 2012!