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The Edge of Nowhere    by Elizabeth George order for
Edge of Nowhere
by Elizabeth George
Order:  USA  Can
Viking, 2012 (2012)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Here's something different from Elizabeth George, author of the excellent Inspector Lynley mystery series. The Edge of Nowhere, set on Whidbey Island (where the author lives a ferry ride from Seattle) is her first YA venture and opens a new series set on the island.

Becca King (once Hannah Armstrong) has always heard the thoughts of others, but not clearly - she catches odds and ends, bits and pieces, whispers. The only way she can manage at school is to wear a box that generates static noise in her ear. Becca's talent endangers her when she hears her stepfather musing on murder. Her mother arranges refuge for her daughter with a friend on Whidbey Island. Her mom puts her on the ferry (disguised in heavy makeup, black hair dye and glasses) and leaves.

But on the island, the friend has died suddenly, without telling anyone of Becca's imminent arrival. Homeless, she's helped by Seth, a high school dropout and talented musician. He sends her to Debbie, a recovering alcoholic with a tragic past. Debbie gives Becca a place to stay and part-time work, and helps her attend school.

When Becca sees Derric, a Ugandan orphan adopted by a local police officer, she is attracted but also senses his underlying despair. Friendship grows between them, as does enmity from the embittered Jenn, who has a proprietary interest in Derric. After he is found badly injured in the woods, a police investigation ensues - Derric's father is convinced that he was pushed. Seth comes under suspicion, and the police also seek Becca.

Of course, Becca (mentored by another islander, Diana with whom she seems to have a psychic connection) uses her abilities to bring the mystery to a surprising conclusion. This first episode ends on a cliffhanger. Though the mystery in The Edge of Nowhere was well done and Becca's talent is intriguing, I found the teen characterizations awkward at times. Nevertheless, the series has caught my interest and I look forward to more.

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