Release Date: August 29, 2013
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To the outside world, Anna appears to be an ordinary high school senior...
Anna has a lot of questions. Should she pursue her desire to leave home for college and live out her dream of becoming a physicist? Or should she stay home and help care for her family, which has struggled ever since her father died in Afghanistan? Is her crush, Steve, really interested in her, or is he only using the highly intelligent Anna to try and boost his grades in school?
These questions, plus the ordinary trials and tribulations of high school, distract Anna from noticing some very... strange things that are beginning to happen to her.
For as long as Anna can remember, she has had a haphazard smattering of freckles on her arm. But these freckles are starting to change, and cause a series of unnerving hallucinations and odd side effects that only Anna seems to notice. When a strange shadow man starts to haunt her nights, she decides to go on a hunt for the truth to discover, once and for all, what is happening to her. The hallucinations continue growing stronger, however, and each new visit by the shadow man appears to become more and more threatening. Eventually, Anna realizes that she can no longer hide from her friends and family what is happening to her.
But as she shares her secret with those closest to her, Anna never imagines that her very life, and the lives of those she loves, will be put in jeopardy.
Who, or what, is Anna?
"Anna" by Meghan Riley is the first book of her series "The Starseed Series". The story revolves around high school student Anna, who is just starting to realize that her life might not be as ordinary and boring as she's always thought.
The book's description has a lot to do with Anna's strange freckles and the changes that are happening to them and her as a result. On her arm, there are freckles that are in the shape of the constellation, Pleiades, and they're slowly starting to change. However, this is not the only weird thing that is happening, since Anna starts to be visited by a creepy Shadow Man, and she also starts hallucinating.
While the description was mainly based in the paranormal happenings of the book, that story doesn't really kick off until well into the book. The majority of the beginning of "Anna", actually just revolves around her daily high school life and the boy trouble you would expect any young adult book to have. She's always had a huge crush on the cute quarterback, Steve, who is finally starting to notice her, but now there's also a new boy named Jared that she meets in her astronomy club. This love triangle and the question of whether Steve likes her for her, or just because she's offering him help in school is what the beginning of the story is about.
It takes a long time for the freckles and what is happening to Anna to come front and center in the story. While they've been changing, and The Shadow Man makes a few appearances, Anna kind of pushes it all to the side and doesn't pay much attention to it. Instead, she continues to just deal with her "normal" problems, and doesn't confront the weirdness that is happening to her until she's literally forced to acknowledge what is happening and find out why it's happening.
I would have liked to see the paranormal elements come up sooner in the story, so that the action could have picked up before the end. However, even though the main story took awhile to take off, the book didn't drag. Riley created a well written story, and even when we are just following Anna along on her high school daily life, it's still interesting and a good read. Even though the book wasn't exactly what I thought it would be, I did want to keep reading.
Since this is the first book of a series, I'm assuming that the delay in the real story was so that the author could set up background information for the reader, and establish Anna's life as well as her personal relationships. As a result, I believe that the second book has great potential to be more action packed and deal with more of the fantasy elements that were missing in "Anna". If you're looking for something that deals mainly with the paranormal, "Anna" might not be for you unless you are patient enough to read through the high school drama and hope that the rest of the series will fulfill your needs.
Meghan Riley graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Maryland and immediately pursued her lifelong passion for the written word.
Her debut novel, Anna, presented itself as a way for Riley to inspire teenage girls to expand their interests beyond the typical teenage quandaries, ultimately encouraging females toward an interest in science.
She is currently hard at work on the sequel to Anna. Riley currently lives in North Carolina with her significant other, her mother, two clingy cats, and an opinionated dog.