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Forbidden    by Syrie James & Ryan M. James order for
by Syrie James
Order:  USA  Can
HarperCollins, 2012 (2012)
Softcover, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Syrie James, author of Nocturne, now collaborates with her son Ryan in an exciting new paranormal YA series, opening with Forbidden.

Though she and her Realtor mother have moved frequently all her life, Claire Brennan has now studied at prestigious Emerson Academy, at the base of the Santa Monica mountains, for two years, and has two close friends there, Erica and Brian. She also has a serious crush on good-looking Neil (Neil, Erica and Brian are all members of the school's elite choral group).

As Forbidden opens, Claire has finally had a period and is happy that she's 'not a freak of nature after all.' But then she starts having visions (of past and future events) that turn out to be true. And, though she's never been able to hold a note before, she discovers that she can sing like an angel. She also gets confusing mental messages that warn of danger.

Alec MacKenzie has gone AWOL from his duties as an angelic Watcher, and decides to hide out - and experience a normal teen existence - at Emerson. He falls hard for Claire at first sight, but comes across as a humorless introvert. After an accident forces him to use his powers, his godfather Vincent (a master of illusions) shows up and tells Alec that he's on the trail of an Awakened (who might actually be a Halfblood) at Emerson.

Of course you've guessed it - Claire is the Awakened, and a conflicted Alec must choose between his duty and his growing love for her. There's a separation and reunion and great danger for Claire before this episode ends on a high note. Don't miss Forbidden, a well written and appealing addition to the YA paranormal genre.

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