Author: Risa Green
Genre: Paranormal Young Adult
Hardcover, 288 pages
Publication: September 3, 2013 by Soho Teen
When 13-year-old Gretchen Harris's mother is murdered at Gretchen's 8th Grade graduation party, everyone in the town of Delphi, California, suspects a power struggle within the Oculus Society: Delphi's version of the Junior League. Gretchen's best friend, Jessica Shaw, might even hold the key to finding the culprit withThe Plotinus Ability: the Oculus Society's jealously guarded secret power to trade souls, which hinges on a kiss. Gretchen's hope at finding the murderer ends in tragedy when Ariel Miller—the class outcast—stalks Gretchen and Jessica and surreptitiously films them exchanging a kiss to test if the Plotinus Ability is real, not knowing their motives. The ensuing YouTube video ("Popular Girls = Secret Lovers") goes viral, Gretchen's and Jessica's lives are further shattered, and they vanish from Delphi.
Flash forward two years later: Ariel is suddenly the most popular junior in town, but wracked with guilt over what she did to Gretchen and Jessica. When both girls reappear after their mysterious absence, Ariel finds herself pawn, suspect, and key player in their scheme to bring the murderer to justice.
Green’s debut novel Projection is a clever and unique addition to the Young Adult genre.Projection is a paranormal/sci-fi sleuth novel (on the light-side) set in three time periods that will appeal to a lot of readers.
The book opens to Rome 249 A.D., introducing readers to Gemina, her best friend Amphiclea, and Gemina’s teacher/a philosopher Plotinus. Gemina believes her husband is cheating on her. Plotinus says the only way she will know for sure is if they ‘project’ with one another. Projection (The Plotinus Ability) is where two people switch souls with one another (sort of like breathing into the other person’s mouth, or think Lindsey Lohan’s Freaky Friday movie LOL.) In order for a safe projection, Gemina and Plotinus needs someone to witness their soul exchange and that is where Amphiclea comes into play, she is chosen as a ‘witness’ and if anything bad happens she will tell others the truth. The novel then fast-forward to the present day to Gretchen and her friend Jessica, both 13-years-old who just graduated from the eighth grade. Gretchen’s mom celebrates this monumental moment by throwing a lavish eighth grade graduation party for Gretchen and the entire eighth grade class…but there is also another reason to celebrate Gretchen’s mom says. Gretchen doesn’t ever find out what her mom wanted to say because she is murder that night. Jessica then reveals to Gretchen that her mom was going to pass on her Oculus Society (a disguised philanthropy club that really is protecting the Plotinus Ability) leadership role to her. The leader/group swore to protect the ability to project for over 2,000 years, a tradition that’s passed from mother to daughter. In order to find the killer, they project with one another and while they succeeded in projection they couldn’t find the murderer. The book then fast forward again two-years, and the girls are now 15-years-old and they’re still determine to find out who murdered Gretchen’s mom.
Gemina and Plotinus's back-story is told in a couple of chapters between Gretchen, Jessica and Ariel’s chapters, sprinkled through the short book (288 pages) to better explain the Plotinus Ability. At first I didn’t see how Gemina/Plotinus story was really relevant to the present day girls but everything ties together nicely towards the end. I wasn’t a fan of the back-story at the beginning, but as I got further into the book I found myself looking forward to reading more about Gemina and Plotinus. I was sad they didn’t get a happy ending like the girls, but I’m glad the Gemina/Plotinus chapters were added because it added something more to the story. The projection concept is quite refreshing, having never read a YA like it. It was fascinating to see how all the characters used the Plotinus Ability, and how it eventually aided them in finding out who killed Gretchen’s mom. When the girls switched places with one another, they learn a lot not only who the killer was. They learned how it is to live in another person’s shoe (even if it’s for a day) and that though you think you know someone, you don’t really know what happens when you’re not around or behind closed doors. They also learned how others perceived them/how they see themselves, which was fun to see.
Green did a great job in creating an engaging plot that had me guessing till the very end. There were so many twist-turns that I didn’t see coming, especially who the killer was! Overall, Projection was very well-written and the cast of characters were realistic even with the hint of paranormal/sci-fi. I enjoyed every aspect of this book, and think it will appeal to a lot of readers, not just young-adults. I highly recommend this book to everyone looking for a refreshing, page-turner.