Title: Reluctant Guardian
Author: Melissa J. Cunningham
Publication Date: September 20, 2013
Genre: YA Paranormal
Guarding Brecken Shaefer-a dark and dangerous rebel-is harder than it looks. Death was nothing like sixteen-year-old Alisa Callahan thought it would be. Resting on pink, fluffy clouds for eternity with her gram and best friend sounded like a dream come true. After all, enduring one torturous experience after another in her short life deserved some kind of reward, right? Unfortunately, eternal rewards aren’t given out so freely when you take your own life. Required to pay the debt for committing suicide, Alisa must become a guardian. It sounds easy enough, but not when the boy she is forced to protect has a dangerous secret and wants absolutely nothing to do with her. Brecken Shaefer isn’t any normal teenager. He has special gifts that are sure to make Alisa’s afterlife miserable. When feelings develop between them, everything spins out of control. Not only must Alisa face her own demons- but to protect Brecken, she must face an evil so heinous that it threatens to destroy their souls completely. Alisa is tired of hiding from her past. When the easiest thing to do is run, can Brecken give her the strength to stay?
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My ***3.5*** Star Review
High points ~ There’s a lot of mystery to the story. I enjoyed getting both POVs. It’s unpredictable.
Alisa has a lot of growing up to do. She’s weak, a liar, and has zero respect for authority. She doesn’t recognize a good thing when it’s staring her in the face. She’s very immature. This is typical for some teens, but definitely not all. I didn’t feel like I could relate to her. She made decisions that would totally contradict what I would have done.
Brecken is in a situation that leaves him feeling hopeless. He’s very mature, though. I liked him from the start. However, there is a point in the story where he starts acting immature all of a sudden, and it just didn’t fit his character. Alisa is supposed to be his guardian and help him. The good thing is that she’s not just helping him. He’s helping her! In the process of this, they start falling for each other. I found myself questioning this over and over. He’s alive. She’s dead. I’m sure there could be a context in which I would buy this scenario, but I struggled with it in this story. But, I also had an issue with the fact that Brecken loved Alisa when he seemed so obsessed with his girlfriend Jill. He would say he had feelings for Alisa, but his actions pointed towards Jill.
At one point there’s a switch from third person to first person in the middle of a scene. It threw me off for a minute. But, overall I think the idea of the story is great. I think the execution just needed some tweaking. There is a good message in the end to be learned. But, I would have loved to see Alisa grow more in her maturity.
The ending is interesting. You will find closure in one sense and in another, feel like it’s ending on a cliffhanger. Despite the problems with the book, I’d still read a follow up story to Brecken and Alisa.
Warning: There are some dark parts to the story dealing with satanic rituals and sacrifices.