Title: Ask Me
Author: Kimberly Pauley
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Paranromal
Hardcover, 304 pages
Publication: April 8, 2014 by Soho Teen
Source: I received a review copy from the publicist in exchange for a honest review/blog tour.
Ask Aria Morse anything, and she must answer with the truth. Yet she rarely understands the cryptic words she‘s compelled to utter. Blessed—or cursed—with the power of an Oracle who cannot decipher her own predictions, she does her best to avoid anyone and everyone.
But Aria can no longer hide when Jade, one of the few girls at school who ever showed her any kindness, disappears. Any time Aria overhears a question about Jade, she inadvertently reveals something new, a clue or hint as to why Jade vanished. But like stray pieces from different puzzles, her words never present a clear picture.
Then there’s Alex, damaged and dangerous, but the first person other than Jade to stand up for her. And Will, who offers a bond that seems impossible for a girl who’s always been alone. Both were involved with Jade. Aria may be the only one who can find out what happened, but the closer she gets to solving the crime, the more she becomes a target. Not everyone wants the truth to come out.
I jumped on the chance to review Ask Me immediately when I found out it was about a 17-year-old girl who happens to be an oracle. Aria our main protagonist is cursed to always answer a question truthfully. Whether the question is directed at her, someone else or if she overhears a question…she must ALWAYS answer it. There isn’t many YA, or books in general for that matter that, that focuses on oracles. They usually play a minor role as a secondary character or are mentioned for quick references only. So hearing about this book was a nice surprise. I think I was so intrigued by the prospect of reading about an oracle that I missed who the author was! It turns out Kimberly Pauley is the same author that wrote the Sucks to Be Me series! I adore that series so much; it was one of the first paranormal young adult novels I’ve ever read!
Ask Me was an enjoyable read. It was a nice balance of contemporary and the paranormal; neither genre out doing one another. I found the idea of Sibyls completely fascinating. I loved that Pauley incorporated oracles in a high school, contemporary setting…because if you’ve read any of her novels she writes well for MG/YA audience (although, this book is leaning more toward older YA). Pauley definitely has a way with words because I was glued to the pages till the very end. Ask Me is narrated by Aria, as readers follow along as she tries to solve a murder, and navigates the ups and down of high school and boys.
I liked Aria for the most part. She lives with her grandparents in the middle of nowhere Florida because her parents didn’t want to raise her after her ability manifest. Aria is an outcast amongst her classmates, because her ability makes it hard to socialize. She resorts to music to drown out the random questions she’d hear. Regardless of her situation, Aria came off as real and humble and never uses her ability for any personal gains. However, as I got closer to the end and having figured out whom the ‘killer’ was…that Aria got a bit on my nerves. She seemed like a smart chick, but was so oblivious to the clues! I also didn’t understand how someone like her, who has trust issues could trust a certain boy she barely knows/talks to so easily? Usual YA trope, don’t ya think? I mean the school’s hottest guy finally notices you…shouldn’t you be at least a little wary?
I had some issues with the believability of Aria’s curse (since we don’t really learn much about her Sibyls line), I guessed ‘whodunit’ early on, and wished it was a bit longer (I think that would have helped the plot somehow) but overall thought Ask Me was still an entertaining and engaging read. Would I still recommend this book? Definitely. I think the cross-genre aspect will appeal to a lot of people (those who enjoy a mystery/thriller but don’t want too much paranormal in it). The book may not be perfect, but I think it’s still worth the time to read.