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Monday, July 25, 2011

Ada, Legend of a Healer by R.A. McDonald

Hi there readers!
Happy Monday!  Well, at least I hope it's treating you nicely.  Today is normally reserved for my 'In My Shopping Bag' post but well, I'm not at my computer right now and as multiple pictures don't like to cooperate with my blogger app, a review it is!  Besides, the book I chose for today is one of those somewhat hidden gems that you'll WANT to know about....and despite the universe's apparent opinion that I shouldn't post today, I will prevail.  (No, seriously!  Every time I tried to start texting/typing, the few minutes I had would be taken away!  LONG stop at the train tracks, as soon as I picked up my ended.  Long line at the checkout, phone comes out...magically the line moved at the speed of light.  :0\)
Today's featured title is one that came to my attention a few months back, but due to reading obligations it couldn't be started right away.  Once I did get back to it though, I couldn't put it done.  It's a YA lit book you may not have heard of yet, but put on your listening ears (or grab those ones that the Weasley twins created) and get ready to read all about it.  Today's book of choice is....
Ada, Legend of a Healer
R.A. McDonald
Ada is a troubled young girl.  At only 15 years old, she'd been in and out of foster homes all her life...and as we meet her, she's in the "out" stage once again.  It's not her fault though...well, at least not completely.  You see, something always goes wrong at each new home.  Some are unavoidable...the male member of the household is a perv....and sometimes it's simply a matter of Ada saying something they don't want to hear.  We're not talking about teenage sassing back here or a mouth that needs a good cleaning with soap.  We're talking about an ability that Ada has and can't quite keep a lid on it. 
Ada has the "power" if you will to "see" or sense sickness.  You know those stories of the dogs that can smell cancer?  Think that magnified 100 fold and covering ANY ailment.  From clogged arteries to an inflamed knee, the big and the small she can pinpoint it with accuracy better than your general practitioner.  Sounds good right?  Well, the problem comes in with human nature.  Most people despite what they say don't take kindly to being told something is wrong with them....and when it comes from the mouth of babes, they're even less inclined to listen.  So time and time again she succumbs to the need to tell them and POOF, it's moving time once again.  This last stop, I can't say I'm too sorry she had to leave though (had both issues listed above going on), but family is family and she could surely use one. 
Lucky for her, this time around her aunt has mysteriously materialized.  True she's been in the picture before, telephone wise at least, but this time she's there in living color and ready to take Ada under her wing.  Finally, someone she can depend on...well, yes and no.  While it's true her aunt Jessie cares for her greatly, there's a bit more to her life than meets the eye....and a lot more she has in common with Ada than she's letting on.  When things take a turn for the strange, the truth is revealed....but Ada is about to get a taste of her own medicine.  Knowledge may be power but sometimes you can't help wishing you just didn't know the magnitude of what's happening. 
So, let's see here.  Where to begin.  The story itself is unique...not in the choice of characters (teen girl with powers and issues struggling to find her place in the world....certainly familiar) but in what the author does with them.  Ada is no wall flower.  She may prefer to stay out of the limelight because of her abilities, but she is not afraid to stand up for herself, and at times leads to some pretty funny moments.  Back to those abilities...
Seeing sickness and injury is only the beginning for as the title implies, she can heal others as well.  The extent to which this applies is ming boggling and I'll leave you to discover on your own but the moral dilemma it introduces is huge.  How DO you determine whom to heal and who should not?  What makes one more worthy than the other?  Jessie sees it as her way of giving back and sharing her gift (except in the case of a particular person of power that wants them as his own fountain of youth) but Ada raises a good point as well.  To heal everyone is a beautiful thought, but the reality of that could be rather scary.  Think about it.  We have population issues now, imagine if the due course of nature didn't take place and people lived on til virtually forever.  Then again, no one wants to say goodbye to their loved ones so we're back to square one of the dilemma.  The way the issue is explored is realistic and offers both sides of the coin inviting readers to reflect further on the ideas after the reading.  Props to the author for the one two successful combination!  Now back to the characters...
Aside from Ada and Jessie, we have a whole cast of interesting folks along the way.  Some are temporary fixtures like one Simone LaRue, while others leave lasting impressions on both Ada and her life such as Ms. Jardin and Daniel.  As each learns a bit more about Ada's life and abilities, it's interesting to see their reactions and interactions going forward.  You can see where human nature and curiosity get the better of some while others remain nonplussed.  The Senator though?  Evil!  Really, he is quite the manipulator...and his henchmen, no different.  Just watch out for them, trust me.
So we've covered the story and the characters in brief (lest I spoil the whole thing for you), let's talk artwork which is a rarity in YA books nowadays.  The cover art is only the beginning.  Throughout the story there are images scattered about illustrating some of the more important moments and lending a visual to an already stunning story.  I love the gritty feel of the art.  It speaks of the life she has lead and the troubles always there just around the corner but it doesn't stop there.  There is always this inclusion of these butterflied around the edges of the image which to me show that despite all she endures, beauty and wonder can be found in the situation as well as the gift she's been given.
In short, a great book with a lot of meaning, adventure (anyone heard of Parkour?  Definitely worth the look up..), and what ifs that end in an astonishing twist.  Well worth the read and high recommendation if I do so say myself...and I do.  Special thanks to author R.A. McDonald and House of Lore Publishing for the review copy.  (Thanks!)  To find out more about this author as well as her amazing work, check out or check her out on Twitter!  For more on the publisher, visit .
Until next time...happy reading!


Marcie said...

I like this book as well. I think Ada is a great character with a lot of strength. The parkour is definitely an interesting aspect of the novel. I didn't know a lot about it before. I'm so glad you enjoyed this book.

Misha said...

I have been seeing this book on some blogs. Teen girl with special powers is not very original, but the story does sound like a great read. Also, Ada seems like a strong character. It's great that there are illustrations depicting scenes from the book. Thanks for the review!

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