Author: Lindsay Ribar.
Published: June 7th 2016 by Kathy Dawson Books.
Twin Peaks meets Stars Hollow in this paranormal suspense novel about a boy who can reach inside people and steal their innermost things—fears, memories, scars, even love—and his family’s secret ritual that for centuries has kept the cliff above their small town from collapsing. Aspen Quick has never really worried about how he’s affecting people when he steals from them. But this summer he’ll discover just how strong the Quick family magic is—and how far they’ll go to keep their secrets safe. With a smart, arrogant protagonist, a sinister family tradition, and an ending you won’t see coming, this is a fast-paced, twisty story about power, addiction, and deciding what kind of person you want to be, in a family that has the ability to control everything you are.
Aspen Quick can steal anything from someone by touching them or an object that belonged to them. He can take away your memories, your fears, your passions; just one moment of concentration and it's gone. He uses this gift/curse to feed the Cliffs; his ability keeps them from collapsing on the village. He works together with his grandmother Willow (able to feel when the Cliffs need magic) and aunt Holly (to guide whatever Aspen has stolen to the Cliffs). I thought it was a really interesting concept and I liked the process, but in the end the author could have used it to make a more twisty tale.
Aspen has been left by his mother and she keeps looking for contact, but he is too hurt by her. Slowly, we figure out why his mother went away and how his dad influenced his life. This revelation was supposed to make Aspen more sympathetic, but I simply can't overlook all the bad things he has done. He was so careless in his use of the gift - and everything had to be about HIM. He never left the douche-bag stage from the beginning behind and that made this a hard book to read. I need to feel something more for a character and all Aspen did was getting on my nerves.
At the same time, the writing-style reads incredibly fast and I ended up reading this book in one sitting. I just think some parts could have been explored better, especially when it comes to Leah, a girl I did like. She stands up to Aspen and makes him realize, in some rare moments, that he is manipulating everyone around him without taking care of their feelings. Taking something from someone without care; changing their personality without consent, it's awful.
Not too bad, not mind-blowing either.