Vesper (Deviants, #1) by Jeff Sampson
Reading Level: Young Adult
Release Date: January 25, 2011
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Source: Received from author/publicist for honest review
Summary: Emily Webb is a geek. And she’s happy that way. Content hiding under hoodies and curling up to watch old horror flicks, she’s never been the kind of girl who sneaks out for midnight parties. And she’s definitely not the kind of girl who starts fights or flirts with other girls’ boyfriends. Until one night Emily finds herself doing exactly that . . . the same night one of her classmates—also named Emily—is found mysteriously murdered. The thing is, Emily doesn’t know why she’s doing any of this. By day, she’s the same old boring Emily, but by night, she turns into a thrill seeker. With every nightfall, Emily gets wilder until it’s no longer just her personality that changes. Her body can do things it never could before: Emily is now strong, fast, and utterly fearless. And soon Emily realizes that she’s not just coming out of her shell . . . there’s something much bigger going on. Is she bewitched by the soul of the other, murdered Emily? Or is Emily Webb becoming something else entirely— something not human? As Emily hunts for answers, she finds out that she’s not the only one this is happening to—some of her classmates are changing as well. Who is turning these teens into monsters—and how many people will they kill to get what they want?
My Review: I'm sure most of us have a badass alter-ego hidden within ourselves. It doesn't really come out unless we are fortunate enough to be cast in an Angelina Jolie action movie. Okay, maybe not most of you, I guess that's just my inner calling. Luckily, Sampson created a character I could live in the moment with. The initial introduction revolved around Emily's ordinary, homebody behavior while at night her feisty transformation appeared. For a good amount of the novel I didn't quite grasp the meaning behind her change. Despite that, the mysterious vibe surrounding her abilities was intriguingly delicious. While Emily struggles to make sense of herself, a killer is also running loose murdering Emily's classmates. I enjoyed the thrill behind this figure's undisclosed identity and looked forward to unraveling his twisted reasons.
The secondary characters, Dawn and Megan were decently written with distinct personalities. Dawn was Emily's step-sister, while Megan was her best friend. Both girls seem to fit into her life one way or the other. Now, I must say the story development was a bit slow. It took me some time to comfortably connect the dots to who the "deviants" were and what their role was in all this madness. Which brings me to the ending! I was going to rate this book a 3.5 but due to the action in the last 60 pages or so, I bumped it to a 4. The overall conclusion filled the action I was hoping to see and definitely gave me insight on what to expect next as a reader. I also want to lightly touch on the subject of a supernatural surprise that Sampson slapped me with. I wasn't expecting it at all! And, no worries, stating that there is a "supernatural" element doesn't spoil anything. I am curious to see the growth in this series and look forward to understanding Emily better.
Jeff Sampson is a pop-culture fanatic with an abiding love of TV and movies, much like his main character, Emily. Vesper is his first novel for young adults. Jeff lives in Tukwila, Washington.
For more info on Jeff, visit his sites: