Title: Every Other Day
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Publisher: Egmont USA
Pub Date: 12/27/2011
Category: YA paranormal fantasy
A great young adult book with a refreshingly different story, loveable characters and interesting relationships.
Kali is human only every second day, in between, she is a hunter of supernatural beings such as hellhounds and zombies. She has no idea why she’s like that, but the instinct to kill these beasts is so strong that she can’t fight it, and when she’s the hunter, she heals fast, feels no pain, is awesome with a knife and her blood is toxic to the beasts she hunts. The government considers killing supernatural beings environmental terrorism which makes her a criminal as well. The idea that she is only invincible every second day is a bit of a stretch, but once you accept that, the story takes you on a great ride.
From the blurb
When Kali notices a mark on the lower back of a popular girl at school, she knows instantly that the girl is marked for death by one of these creatures. Kali has twenty-four hours to save her and, unfortunately, she’ll have to do it as a human. With the help of a few new friends, Kali takes a risk that her human body might not survive. . .and learns the secrets of her mysterious condition in the process.
The real strength of this book is in its characterisation and relationship development. The lifelike characters leap off the page and grab you, first with their strength and later, as it’s revealed, with their vulnerability. Ms Barnes teases the empathy out of us, even for Bethany, who starts out as a bitch to Kali and Skylar, then shows she has more guts than you’d expect and ends up as a friend.
Kali didn’t have any friends until Skylar befriends her. She’s the girl with five brothers who doesn’t care that the ‘popular’ group call her the school slut, even though she isn’t. She says she is a little bit psychic and although various supernatural creatures are a known part of the world, no one believes in psychics, vampires or werewolves. They’re still relegated to the realm of fantasy, but by the end, we discover that Skylar is indeed more than a little psychic. Skylar is what I call a noble character in that her actions at the end are selfless, taken for the greater good rather than for personal motivation. She even helps others make the correct choices to ensure that the greater good she sees comes to pass.
The ‘romantic’ element is unlike anything I’ve ever come across before, because Kali meets Zev in her mind when she gains the ability to connect telepathically with him, by becoming infected by the same parasite that he carries. (I told you it was different.) Evidently, beings like her are meant to come in pairs and I’m not sure whether that refers to people like her and Zev, or the parasite that infects them. Whatever the exact meaning, Kali feels alone and is drawn to this voice in her head. The connection allows them to meet in a dream world and see through each other’s eyes, and in this way, the relationship develops.
The plot is unpredictable and there’s a twist at the end and a lot of angst. However, the story ultimately ends not only with hope for the future, but also with a reason that eases the pain of past events. I recommend this book for anyone who likes young adult paranormal fantasy and I give it 5 stars.