This is a great read by a first time author and perfect for the holidays. As much as anything its about love, not a male/female love but love of family, of brother for brother, parent for child and more.
Because the main characters are young teens, this is a crossover book, good for adults as well as teens.
The Characters: Ava and Wash, best friends since childhood, Ava's mother committed suicide many years ago, her caring father, recently remarried and expecting has raised her well. Wash's grandmother has been raising him since the death of his mother in a car accident caused by his father who could not face the world after that. they are teens. Ava's father Sheriff Macon Campbell and his new wife Carmen. Wash's grandmother Brenda and father Tom. Reverend Brown and his brain injured brother Sam. Dr. Arnold and his wife, town doctor and nurse.
A plane crashes at an airshow trapping Ava and Wash in debris. As their rescuers race to reach them, Ava sees that Wash is slipping away. Panicked by the thought of losing Wash, Ava grabs on to him and holds and thinks hard, memories of her mother flood her mind. She wakes cold and weak in the hospital being called miracle girl. She has healed Wash's injuries, saved his life. And so it is that the town is flooded by reporters and people hoping to be healed by the miracle girl. Macon is overwhelmed by coping with the mess. Reverend Brown steps in and guides him. The reverend could have been a stereotypical televangelist but is a much deeper caring person. His older brother however is a problem, stalking Ava, trying to get her to cure his brain injury and in the end causing an horrific explosion, killing himself and others. Sam reminded me of Lennie Small in the novel Of Mice and Men so now might be the time to say that maybe this story or parts of it have been told before, never has the story been told in this manner. There are tests and more tests to see if Ava is different is some way, always is the question of how? When she heals a dog's broken leg she loses conscious and wakes up blind. Eventually recovering, almost. She grows thinner, and colder every time she heals someone and loses her vision and has a flood of memories of her lost beloved mother.
Even as those close to her want her help, save Carmen's baby, save Wash from cancer, they know it could kill her, something they would never risk. How do you explain to people in need, people who believe she has a moral duty to help that Ava cannot help them? There is a first attempt to get Ava to begin what is deemed her duty but she refuses to cure a young child of a brain tumor and instead grabs Wash and runs away. Ava seems to have come to terms with her "power" with what she can and will do and that is clearly limited to those she loves. She will risk her own life for them. And so it is that she heals Wash's cancer without his being aware and heals Carmen's baby, born too early. But for those outside her tight circle there is no resolution. JDW 12/14