My Soul To Take (Novel)Release date: 2009. Author: Rachel Vincent. Publisher: Harlequin Teen. ISBN: 9780373210039. Plot summary: Sixteen-year-old Kaylee Cavanaugh has a strange ability: she knows when someone is going to die. She senses it, sees the person covered in shadow, and is unable to do anything but scream. Kaylee is not sure if this ability is a gift or a curse. She lives with her uncle Brendon, aunt Val and cousin Sophie; her father lives in Ireland and sent her to America after her mother's death. Her aunt and uncle seem to think her ability is psychological, like a panic attack. When gorgeous and popular Nash takes a sudden interest in Kaylee, and seems to know a lot about these visions she has, however, Kaylee begins to wonder if maybe she's not crazy. It turns out, Kaylee is a bean sidhe (or "banshee"): a mythical death herald. Screaming and wailing for the nearly deceased is part of who, or what she is. Nash knows this because he is a bean sidhe too, only he has the ability to guide souls that have recently departed their bodies. Together, Kaylee and Nash have to figure out why beautiful and healthy girls keep dropping dead at their high school. Can two bean sidhes in love save their classmates before it's too late?
Critical evaluation: Creative, original and entertaining, My Soul To Take, the first book in the Soul Screamers series by Rachel Vincent, is a delight for any fan of monsters, vampires, ghosts, faeries, and other paranormal creatures. The novel begins with Kaylee experiencing a vision of death right away. Instead of opening with back-story and an introduction of the characters, Vincent gets the action started immediately, capturing the reader's interest from the start. The rest of the novel is devoted to expanding on the characters of Kaylee and Nash, and the history of the bean sidhe, all while moving forward with the plot. The result is a page-turner that is difficult to put down until the conclusion. In an almost Harry Potter fashion, it is revealed that Kaylee comes from a long long of bean sidhe, her father, mother, even her uncle Brendon are all bean sidhes. The reader discovers along with Kaylee the extent of her powers, the truth behind her life, and how she can use her abilities. Instead of observing Kaylee from the outside, Vincent places the reader right in the plot with her, creating an exciting experience that teens, and adults, will love. The novel also sets the stage for the other books in the series, keeping the reader interested in learning more about Kaylee and Nash, and seeing what kind of situations they will undoubtedly encounter in the future. Vincent's writing style is also very relevant for teens. Kaylee acts and speaks like a typical sixteen-year-old girl, despite the fact that she is a bean sidhe, and teen readers will identify with her feelings and attitudes. Overall, My Soul To Take is a must-read for teens who enjoy the genre.
Reader's annotation: Kaylee Cavanaugh has an unusual ability: she can sense when someone is going to die. Kaylee discovers that this ability means more than she realized, however, when the gorgeous and popular Nash takes a sudden interest in her, and seems to understand the truth about her visions.
About the author: Born in Oklahoma, Rachel Vincent got her BA in English from the University of Central Oklahoma before becoming an author. Vincent's most well-known series, The Shifters, put her on the map as a New York Times bestselling author. The six-book series is about a Faythe Sanders, a female werecat. Soul Screamers is Vincent's latest series, about Kaylee Cavanaugh, a teenage bean sidhe (banshee). The fourth book in this series, My Soul to Steal, will be released in January 2011. Vincent lives in San Antonio, Texas with her two cats. (http://rachelvincent.com/RV.html)
Booktalking ideas: Bean sidhes and Irish mythology
Death of a peer
Loss of a parent
Social aspects of high school (dating, friendships)
Reading level/Interest Age:Age 14+
Supernatural elements (bean sidhe, demons, reapers)
Challenge counterpoints:Recommended for age 14+.
Recommend parent read novel before child.Recommend parent discuss any family religious beliefs and how they pertain to supernatural elements of story.
Recommend parent and child research mythology and mythological creatures.
Reasons for inclusion: New York Times bestselling author.
Positive review Publishers Weekly, Booklist, Kirkus Reviews.