The Holders by Julianna Scott

March 4, 2013 Review 0 ★★★

The Holders by Julianna ScottThe Holders by Julianna Scott
Series: Holders #1
Published by Strange Chemistry on March 5, 2013
Genres: Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Source: NetGalley
17-year-old Becca spent her whole life protecting her brother from, well, everything. The abandonment of their father, the so called 'experts' who insist that voices in his head are unnatural and must be dealt with, and the constant threat of being taken away to some hospital and studied like an animal. When two representatives appear claiming to have the answers to Ryland's perceived problem, Becca doesn't buy it for one second. That is until they seem to know things about Ryland and about Becca and Ryland's family, that forces Becca to concede that there may be more to these people than meets the eye. Though still highly skeptical, Becca agrees to do what's best for Ryland.

What they find at St. Brigid's is a world beyond their imagination. Little by little they piece together the information of their family's heritage, their estranged Father, and the legend of the Holder race that decrees Ryland is the one they've been waiting for. However, they are all--especially Becca--in for a surprise that will change what they thought they knew about themselves and their kind.

She meets Alex, a Holder who is fiercely loyal to their race, and for some reason, Becca and Ryland. There's an attraction between Becca and Alex that can't be denied, but her true nature seems destined to keep them apart. However, certain destinies may not be as clear cut as everyone has always believed them to be.

Becca is lost, but found at the same time. Can she bring herself to leave Ryland now that he's settled and can clearly see his future? Will she be able to put the the feelings she has for Alex aside and head back to the US? And can Becca and Ryland ever forgive their father for what he's done?

There are only so many stories and they tend to follow a similar plot. What makes the stories stand out, then, is how they’re told. We can draw correlations between Luke Skywalker, and Harry Potter, and Batman as ordinary people who went on to do great things. In the same way, we can draw correlations between Harry Potter, The X-Men, and The Holders. All three stories have young students who are extraordinary in some way attending a school where they learn to hone those extra abilities.

The difference between The Holders and the others is that the story is told from the perspective of a girl who doesn’t actually have any special abilities herself. Seventeen-year-old Becca has defended her younger brother Ryland ever since he started to hear voices. She has refused to let him be taken away to a mental institute, and at one point threatens to lie down in front of any vehicle that tries to take her brother away. But suddenly Becca and Ryland are going to a school in Ireland where Ryland can learn how to control his special abilities, and Becca is coming along to make sure her brother is safe.

Like most books where there are male and female characters (especially teenagers) in close proximity there is romance and angst, but the relationships aren’t the focus of the story, and to be honest it’s rather predictable. There isn’t really angst or hard work involved in the relationship, so I’m hoping that in the follow-up to this one that the relationship won’t be perfect. Not that I don’t like a happy ending, because I do, but it just doesn’t feel right without some conflict.

The book starts off with a bang, as Becca is trying to keep her little brother safe from the mental institute. It’s a fast paced read, and full of drama at the start and at the end. The only problem is that the middle falls short, and it seems like we’re getting a lot of explanation about the Holders and the Order, but not enough action. The book was able to hold my attention, don’t get me wrong, but I’m also an adult who is more accustomed to stories that aren’t all action, whereas the target audience may struggle a little bit in the dryer sections.

As a whole, though, I did enjoy the book. It was worth the time spent reading it, and I’m interested to see where the story is going next.

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