“You don’t have to be defined by what’s happened.”
Ion Jacobs has spent his entire life bouncing from one foster home to the next. He doesn’t know who his family are and what he does know of his history only confirms his belief that he’s a nobody.
Now fourteen, Ion has been living with the Reeves for three months. Mike and Ava have a seven year old daughter, Rachel. Mike’s son, Michael, who is in Ion’s class, also lives with them. Rounding out the family is Rachel’s terrier, Gabe.
Ion has always been different but having had to move around so frequently from home to home and school to school could easily explain that. Until now. Things are changing for Ion in ways that he doesn’t understand. Strange things have begun to happen around him, unexplainable things like objects floating in the air and increased strength.
“But I’d just been so afraid that he would just push me away too if he knew the truth about me.”
Perhaps it was more noticeable because it was a quick read but there seemed to be too much of a reliance on similes and repetition. Most of the conversations flowed well but every so often Ion didn’t sound like he was fourteen; the one that stood out the most to me was when he answered “Incrementally …” when he was asked if he was feeling better.
Although the blurb was what initially piqued my interest in this book I wish (in retrospect) that it hadn’t given away so much of the story. I reread the blurb when I was two thirds of the way through the book and realised it was very close to being a summary of what had happened in the book until then.
“Ion, there’s something so different about you.” Her voice came out soft and a little sad. “Don’t ever lose that – don’t ever be like the rest of us.”
This story is a prequel to an already existing trilogy and among the early reviewers it appears I’m one of the outliers, as this is my first read by this author. It has set the scene and raised a number of unanswered questions. I enjoyed this book, even though I found it fairly predictable, and am interested in reading the first book of the trilogy.
Content warnings include abandonment, alcoholism, bullying, domestic violence, foster care, suicidal ideation and suicide attempt.
Thank you so much to NetGalley and the author for the opportunity to read this book.
Once Upon a Blurb
14-year-old Ion Jacobs just wants to belong to a family and feel normal. But his past is a mystery, his future is a question, and his whole life is about to change.
Tossed from one foster home to another and shadowed by his mysterious past, Ion fears he’ll never fit in — until one day, when he drops a pencil and instead of falling to the floor … it floats.
Shocked and bewildered, Ion searches deeper and discovers an undeniable truth about himself: he possesses extraordinary powers beyond his control. Healing injuries, levitating objects, and superhuman strength come as easy to him as breathing. Now Ion only has one goal: make sure no one finds out what he’s capable of.
Struggling to keep his newfound abilities a secret, Ion finds himself more isolated than ever — until he meets a mysterious stranger in the woods who seems to understand Ion better than anyone else. As tensions rise at home with his new foster family, Ion finds it harder and harder to control his powers. And when he accidentally sparks a fire that nearly destroys their home, Ion is forced to face the reality of his situation: not only is he capable of healing — he’s also capable of fatal destruction.