When fifteen-year-old Krystal Bentley moves to Lincoln, Connecticut, her mom's hometown, she assumes her biggest drama will be adjusting to the burbs after living in New York City.
But Lincoln is nothing like Krystal imagined. The weirdness begins when Ricky Watson starts confiding in her. He's cute, funny, a good listener—and everything she'd ever want—except that he was killed nearly a year ago. Krystal's ghost-whispering talents soon lead other "freaks" to her door—Sasha, a rich girl who can literally disappear, and Jake, who moves objects with his mind. All three share a distinctive birthmark in the shape of an M and, fittingly, call themselves the Mystyx. They set out to learn what really happened to Ricky, only to realize that they aren't the only ones with mysterious powers. But if Krystal succeeds in finding out the truth about Ricky's death, will she lose him for good?
Now, onto the book itself... Manifest was a mix of a coming of age tale about Krystal, the protaganist, learning about her new powers and growing up a bit herself, while at the same time solving a mystery relating to her new paranormal power of being able to see and talk to ghosts. I really enjoyed the mystery aspect and the end of the book had me totally surprised!
Krystal was a character I really could not stand at the beginning of the book, but grew to love and even care about by the end. For about the first half of the book, she was just a whiny brat. She was so resistant to learning more about her supernatural powers or even trying to fix her relationship with her parents, and it made me want to slap her sometimes! I felt like her resistance was really slowing down the plot for the first half of the book and there were parts it got dull. But then, about halfway through, we started to see Krystal change. She was still headstrong and stubborn, but started to use her it in a good way. She had to help Ricky solve the mystery of his murder and help her two new friends- Sasha and Jake- discover why they were started to get weird powers. I started liking the book a lot more once Krystal decided she was going to stop being so resistant of events that are going to happen anyway. The reason she was so obstinate was the issue of her parent's recent divorce and the fact that she was never given a really good reason for it. As Krystal found out more about what happened between her parents, I started to truly feel bad for her, almost to the point of tears when she learned some things that shocked her and me as a reader.
Throughout the book, there was one character I really loved- Ricky, the ghost Krystal is helping. He was funny, adorable, and the fact that only Krystal could see him gave them a connection I felt instantly. He was the reason Krystal transformed from an annoying spoiled girl to a great well developed character. I loved all of his scenes and I really hope he's back for the second book in the series- it wouldn't be the same without him.
Maybe it was because I was reading an ARC copy, but the one thing that really bugged me throughout the whole book this: we'd get into a scene, build up a lot of suspense, and then it would switch to a scene later, never returning to the previous scene. I wouldn't mind this except for the fact that we never found at what happened in the scene before. It felt a bit choppy between scenes and I wondered what I missed. It occured a few times, but it wasn't that bad and shouldn't keep you from reading this book.
Overall, I recommend Manifest to YA paranormal fans. It's a 4/5 rating for me because I really got into the second half of the book and loved the mystery and suspense, if you can make it through the beginning where I thought the protaganist's attitude might kill the plot. It's a great start of a series and worth adding to your to-read list. :)
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