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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Military Brats: After Burn by Sherry D. Ficklin

Military Brats: After Burn by Sherry D. Ficklin
Publisher: Rebel Ink Press
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery, Young Adult
Length: Full Length (253 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3.5 books
Reviewed by Poinsettia

Reece Barnet and her father have just relocated to sunny North Carolina, Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point to be exact. It's another new town and another new school. To make matters worse, just as Reece is starting to fit in a rash of bomb threats rocks her father's experimental aircraft squadron. When the authorities track the threats to Reece's school, she decides to do some investigating of her own. Unfortunately, the more Reece digs, the more it looks like her new boyfriend might be the culprit.

When Reece’s father is nearly killed, it becomes a race against time as Reece fights to protect her father, clear her boyfriend, and discover the surprising truth of the person behind it all.

Adults really ought to take teenagers more seriously…

Ms. Ficklin opened the story with a very effective nightmare sequence that immediately gave me insight into Reece’s character. In only a couple pages, I learned that her mother had died recently, about the problems at her old school, and how well Reece handles a crisis. By the end of the first chapter, I truly cared about Reece and wanted to know how her story was going to end.

Reece is exactly the kind of girl I’d want for a friend. She’s loyal and willing to come to the aid of those she cares about. She’s also mature enough to do the right thing in a tough situation. When she learns that the adults on the base aren’t taking the bomb threats seriously because they most likely came from a teenager, Reece doesn’t hesitate to investigate on her own. While this probably wasn’t the smartest course of action, I admired Reece’s spirit. While Reece investigates the bomb threats, she’s still a teenager with normal problems concerning boys, friends, and just trying to survive high school. These everyday problems balanced out the larger concern of the bomb threats and gave the story and Reece a more realistic feel.

Greg and Paul are the romantic interests in the story. Greg is the classic popular football player while Paul is the good looking academic type. The love triangle between Reece, Greg, and Paul was very well done in the beginning. Ms. Ficklin did such a good job of presenting the positive qualities of both boys that Reece’s inability to decide between the two was completely believable. However, certain events in the story clued me in on who Reece would end up with before she actually made her choice.

The only thing that kept me giving the book a higher rating was that I found the mystery to be predictable concerning the plot and the character behind the threats. The clues to the mystery were extremely easy to follow, and I had it figured out way before the climax. When the mystery was finally solved, it didn’t make much of an impact. I would have liked the story more if the mystery had been a little more difficult to unravel and if a more unlikely character had been the culprit behind the threats.

One of the things I liked most about After Burn was the fact that Reece had friends outside of her love triangle that made for entertaining secondary characters. Derek and Kayla have a flair for the dramatic and befriend Reece on her first day of school. When Reece’s love triangle between Paul and Greg heats up, it would have been easy for Reece to forget about her other friends, but I was very glad that she still made time to nurture her other relationships.

Military Brats: After Burn is definitely a good read. Anyone who enjoys a sweet romantic suspense and a spunky character like Reece should pick up a copy today.