359 pages, Hardcover
Secret Summer Santa
First in Darkness Rising
Young Adult Fiction
Sixteen-year-old Maya is just an ordinary teen in an ordinary town. Sure, she doesn't know much about her background - the only thing she really has to cling to is an odd paw-print birthmark on her hip - but she never really put much thought into who her parents were or how she ended up with her adopted parents in this tiny medical-research community on Vancouver Island.
Strange things have been happening in this claustrophobic town - from the mountain lions that have been approaching Maya to her best friend's hidden talent for "feeling" out people and situations, to the sexy new bad boy who makes Maya feel . . . . different. Combine that with a few unexplained deaths and a mystery involving Maya's biological parents and it's easy to suspect that this town might have more than its share of skeletons in its closet.
Maya is a great character. She has flaws, but mainly she has courage. Courage to face down obstacles outside herself an inside herself. Maya is surrounded by a group of characters that make this courage possible. Always being there for her regardless if she is in the wrong.
Daniel, her best friend, is a great character that I would love to delve into deeper. He has depths that are undiscovered. He has an abusive father, but instead of simply allowing his father to be abusive he stands up to him. This is not a trait that you see much of within fiction and can be a rarity even within reality. Even if he wasn’t such an upstanding citizen, great friend, and overall nice guy this would have me loving him, but he is so much more. He is popular and what he says goes most of the time.
There are 3 overall plots. The mystery Serena, which we are introduced to just as the book opens. The drug cooperation's secrets that isn’t fully developed in this book and lastly the biggest plot point which is Maya herself.
Maya works with animals. She sees wild animals that others don’t have encounters with, heals animals that are wounded, and protects others from the wild animals. The paw print birthmark and her physical traits are the only clues she has as to where she came from, but this doesn’t stop her from being a great daughter.
Maya’s parents are one of the only ones I’ve seen that are truly good parents within YA. Most parents are absentee at best, but her parents are always there to help her out.
Oh, and Rafe, I don’t really like him. He seems like a very flat character in comparison to Daniel. No, I’m not team Daniel. I don’t want Maya with anyone at the moment. I think she’s the type that would benefit from not having a boyfriend at the moment. Daniel is a great friend and I would hate to see him be with Maya.
The only problem I had with this book was it felt at times to be like Lost. More and more questions were brought up and none were answered. Even in the end we don’t have a real clue as to what is going on and I’m the type that wants to understand the book before going into it. If you like suspense this will give it to you.
I can’t wait to read the next to find out more about Maya, Daniel, and her abilities. I really enjoyed reading the first installment of the Darkness Rising series.