This was honestly such a gripping read. I couldn't put the book down the last 100 pages or so. Even from the very beginning I was hooked. I wanted to know what was going on with the main character.
This is not a book we are going to be putting in one of our boxes. While it was a great read and I really enjoyed it, some of the imagery is a little disturbing for young readers. It's definitely a YA title in my opinion. There isn't anything I would label as "bad" in the book, but the imagery of death, especially in young children, at the beginning of the book made me feel like I didn't want my 8 year old daughter reading it. Now as she gets older, it might be really good for her, but definitely not right now. But, like I said, it's a really great book and if you have a reader that is older and can handle some of the imagery, then go for it.
Cera (the main character) just really wants to be normal. She wants friends and to NOT move every year like she has been. Then one day she is thrust into understanding more about who she is; she joins a "family" and has something to fight for. Her identity journey is really the main topic of this book. As she learns more about herself and those around her, she begins to find that she does have a place.
Once Cera discovers that there is another realm that only she and a few others like her can see, she finds a new level of courage and passion she didn't have before. There is a little bit of teenager romance throughout the book, but nothing that takes away from the story.
This book definitely has a "battles are not against flesh and blood" feel to it. A "War" wages on while most of the world goes about their daily lives without even knowing it. Friendship, family, sacrifice, courage and identity are just a few of the themes I would tag on this book. I haven't read Book 2, "Reals of Light" yet but I am planning on it.
Again, it's a really terrific page turner that I would definitely put in the YA category. It might be a little much in a couple of scenes for that preteen age group, but it would be a good read for the teenager in your house.