Hunting Lila by Sarah Alderson

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Hunting Lila by Sarah Alderson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Publication Date: August 5th, 2011
Pages: 306
Song I Played While Reading: Pray to God by Calvin Harris
Rating: 4 stars

Lila has two secrets she's prepared to take to the grave. The first is that she can move things just by looking at them. The second is that she's been in love with her brother's best friend, Alex, since forever.
After a mugging exposes her unique ability, Lila decides to run to the only people she can trust- her brother and Alex. They live in southern California where they work for a secret organization called The Unit, and Lila discovers that the two of them are hunting down the men who murdered her mother five years before. And that they've found them. In a world where nothing and no on is quite as they seem, Lila quickly realizes that she is not alone- there are others with special powers out there- and her mother's killer is one of them... 

I had pretty low expectations of this book. I expected a 3 star, okay novel, something I couldn't really connect with but still enjoyed. This girl is telekinetic- that's ONLY my dream super power, so I knew I would at least enjoy that aspect. Instead, I was blown away.
I expected the romance in this to be extremely corny. How can it not? Girl loves brothers best friend from afar. Thats just a recipe for a writing disaster, especially since this was Alderson's first novel. But the biggest thing that stuck out to me between Lila and Alex was their originality. Yes, the idea is well-known, but Anderson managed to weave the romance together incredibly. It felt fresh and exciting. I absolutely adored Alex, and god damn it, I want my own. Blonde hair in a buzz cut, vivid blue eyes, ripped, and he's in the Marines. Like???? *heart eyes*. What made him absolutely perfect was his more series, bodyguard type nature. Even at a bar, he was on the lookout.

"Then I saw Alex. It was easy to make him out in a crowd. It was the way he stood, like he was permanently on guard." 

Lila was a solid character, not someone I was too crazy about, but overall she worked. The thing that bugged me about her was the way Alderson wrote scenes with her using her powers. Sometimes, it wasn't clear if it was her actually using her ability to move an object, so I would get confused and then have to backtrack and reread the scene. I think because Lila had already been using her powers for some time now and it was natural for her, that it didn't seem to flow for me. In most books like this, we learn along with the narrator how to use the gift. Since she had already done that, it took me a while to realize when it happened.
Another thing was how she acted a some points. In the beginning, she was a little childish and threw fits over thing that were inconsequential. Luckily, she grew out of that as the novel progressed.
I really enjoyed all the side characters in this, especially the ones we meet towards the end. They all stood on their own so I was able to keep track of who was who, which is sometimes an issue I have. They were lively and brought an added punch of humor or suspense. And something else that was suspenseful? The plot! Holy guacamole, this book did a complete 180 on me. I was just going along, enjoying the ride, thinking how nicely Alderson was pacing this book and wondering vaguely how it was going to end, and then BAM. Everything gets turned on its head and shit starts rolling downhill, faster and faster until I had to put the book down to process everything. Shit. Got. REAL.
And then it just got better and better, with so many damn plot twists that my mind was spinning. This could be because my completely oblivious nature, but seriously I didn't see any of them coming. So kudos to you, Alderson. KUDOS.
Now, my one complaint would be the writing, which could be weird cause writing can make or break a story. But on occasion, there would be a grammatically incorrect sentence. The wording would be inaccurate, either because it was missing another word or was mixed up. It only happened a few times, so it really just seemed like the editor missed a few things.
But besides that, this book was awesome. It was a fun and quick read, perfect to get you out of a reading slump or out of your own head. I can't wait to get the second book!

"He took a while to answer, then he said, "You think I'd let you go alone?" My heart leapt.
He stood up and came towards me and then knelt down in front of me. "Lila, when you asked me earlier why I was helping you and I told you I had no choice I meant I have no choice because you are-"
The trilling of a phone interrupted. I hung on to the last words, I am what? I am WHAT?"

"It's Lila--come on, Jack. She might be a little impulsive but that doesn't make her a sociopath.'
I swivelled my gaze to Jack, trying my best not to look like a sociopath."

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