“FAVORITE,” by Karen McQuestion, AmazonEncore, April 1, 2011, $9.95 (young adult)
It’s always fun to discover a new author whose books are worth reading. Sometimes they’re established, other times they’re new on the scene, but no matter what, they’re books are always an exciting find.
Such is the case with author Karen McQuestion. In 2009, Karen self-published five books on Amazon’s Kindle. Her sales were impressive, and as a result, AmazonEncore chose to publish them in print. My introduction to Karen’s work was through “Favorite.”
It’s been five years since Angie Favorite’s mother, Laura, disappeared. There’s been no trace of her and the rumor is that she ran off. But Angie doesn’t believe it. Laura disappeared on Angie’s birthday, and there’s not way she would leave her family willingly, especially on Angie’s special day.
Despite their loss, Angie’s family has moved on, or at least appears to. Angie goes to school, works her summer job, and argues with her older brother, Jason. Their dad is out on the road a lot, working as a musician, so they live with their grandmother, Laura’s mother.
When Angie is kidnapped from a strip mall parking lot, it brings back past hurts. Angie narrowly escapes her attacker, but is injured in the attempt. The kidnapper turns out to be a local man. He’s caught, but takes his own life before he can explain the motives behind his actions.
When the man’s elderly mother contacts Angie, seeking forgiveness, the teenager agrees to meet with the hopes of getting some answers and some closure. But when Angie arrives at the woman’s house something feels off and instead of a feeling of closure a sense of foreboding takes hold.
“Nothing is as it seems” is a phrase frequently overused, but in the case of “Favorite,” it aptly applies. There are some unimaginable twists in “Favorite” that will have readers climbing under their covers and making sure their doors are locked.
At first glance “Favorite” is a story of a girl and her family learning to cope with loss. But at some point it morphs into a psychological thriller. It’s an unexpected but welcome turn that will leave readers on the edge of their seats.
Creating a suspenseful story that’s not predictable is a skill author Karen McQuestion has mastered well. And at less than 200 pages, she’s done it in a short amount of space. Kudos to her for excelling where many have not.