Dark Before Dawn by Stacy Juba

JubaDarkBeforeDawnWhere I Got It: Review copy via the author (thanks!).

Publisher: Stacy Juba (2013)

Narrator: Cassandra Morris

Length: 6 hours 37 minutes

Author’s Page

Dawn Christian and her family recently moved. Well, there was a marriage and a move to Maine – she now has a step father and a step brother to go along with her mother. But her psychic abilities make her even more of an outcast at her new school. that is until a few other girls let on that they have the same abilities and introduce Dawn to a fortune teller. Mysterious deaths and tough choices follow.

This story started off strong. Dawn is in her teens and having trouble fitting in both at home and at school. She can’t talk to her mom about her psychic abilities and that makes it hard for her to talk to her mother about anything else. Plus she now has this awkwardness at getting use to having a step father and step brother. In fact, the book spends a lot of time focusing on how out of place Dawn is. While that is definitely integral to the story, after a while it is was also tiring as the same issues were rehashed over and over again.

But then things pick up again when Dawn meets the fortune teller and witch Cassandra. Now she is part of a small group of teens, all with psychic abilities, being taught and guided by this experienced witch. Things were looking up for Dawn. However, there is something dark at the center of this group and while Dawn can sense that, she doesn’t figure it out right away.

A few deaths occur that are attributed to freak accidents. Dawn believes otherwise and keeps digging. As she delves into this mystery she also stumbles upon the mystery of her own father’s death. Apparently her mother has been keeping secrets. This little side plot line was my favorite as it had the right mix of suspense, coming of age, and truths uncovered.

There is some joking around about Dawn’s step brother and how cute he is. I really hope the author doesn’t turn this into a step-sibling romance in the next installment. The ending felt a little rushed to me but maybe that is because so much of the rest of the book kept repeating over and over again Dawn’s not fitting in. So the succinctness of the ending was a different pacing from the rest of the book.

Narration: Cassandra Morris was a great choice for Dawn. She does teen girls well. Her female and male voices were believable and distinct.

What I Liked:  A tale of not fitting in; having to make tough choices; uncovering family secrets. 

What I Disliked: A little repetitive at times; the ending felt rushed.

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