(**I received this ebook from the author in exchange for an honest review.)
Harley Ray Rider is a fifteen year old girl living in San Francisco, California. For the most part her life’s been pretty ordinary; expect for the numerous near encounters she’s had with death. After a third incident lands her once more in the “In-between” she once again sees her (deceased) best friend and learns surprising news. She’ll get the choice to return, but with that also comes the price of a duty only she’ll be able to do with new found “gifts.” Harley jumps at the chance to come back. Quickly however, she discovers how highly unprepared she is for the task that is up to her. Running away from home and hitting the streets of Los Angeles she’ll go all the way to catch the bad guy. But what happens when the bad guy catches her?
Now, you all know I’m a fan of YA books. I’m an even bigger fan of YA books when they’re written by young adults. When the author is actually younger than I am, I definitely want to become a fan. After reading The Hidden Messages, I am a fan of Madeline Hibbert.
Honestly, I’m not really a murder mystery kind of girl, and The Hidden Messages is exactly that; don’t let the beginning of this book, with its near-death experiences and sixth senses fool you. The beginning may not even connect at first (because it didn’t for me), but I promise that it all makes sense for the overall story of Harley’s life.
Harley herself is a pretty cool protagonist. She’s confident, sassy and does not let anything or anyone defer her from her goals. Told in first person, I found the writing voice to sound younger – which fit Harley, because she is a young teen. Harley has a very strong voice and although I found her immature at times I understood and related with her.
Unfortunately, the writing is also the biggest downside to this novel. Don’t get me wrong; Hibbert is a good writer, but I think there is too much extraneous detail in the story. There are many passages about random things in Harley’s life that do not actually contribute anything to the novel. There is also some awkward sentence structure, which disrupts the flow of the novel, typos, and misuse of grammar. Yes, all of that sucks, but it is also not the worst kind of flaw to have, as these are easy fixes.
What really kept my attention is the story line of this novel. Harley is on her own in an unknown city, using her ‘power’ to hunt down a serial killer. Very scary. Not only that, but she also proves to be a truly and intelligent protagonist, even outsmarting the FBI. Those two parts put together make an intriguing chase. I found myself getting caught up in Harley’s life, so much so that I would lose track of real-world time.
Overall, I enjoyed The Hidden Messages. Although the writing mistakes are distracting, there were some parts that gripped me enough that I was able to ignore them. I suggest you give the young author a chance and download her e-book.