Book Review: Chasing Xaris by Samantha Bennett

xaris

Again into the YA realm.  Here is the synopsis:

Chandler Bloom starts her day like every other—on her surfboard and away from her smothering grandparents. It’s the only way she’s been able to cope since the hit-and-run that killed her parents two years ago. But when a shark nearly turns Chandler into breakfast, a loner surfer named Ari saves her life. Which is great, except that he also triggers new questions about her parents’ deaths. Before Chandler can ask him more, Ari disappears. 

Desperate for answers, Chandler decides to track down Ari with the help of her best friend Jordan, a surfer guy who’s totally in love with her. The search leads to Ari’s home—a hidden island that can only be found with a form of light called xaris. But Chandler isn’t the only one searching for the island or the unearthly elements found there. Her parents died protecting it, and if Chandler doesn’t come to grips with what she’s really chasing, she could be next. (YA inspirational urban fantasy)

I really liked this book.  It was well written with many different themes woven throughout.  The inspirational part of it wasn’t forced, it was sort of in the background and really only made an appearance later in the book.

The author captured the reader early on with the shark attack and literally doesn’t let go (sorry for the pun!!)  The author also is very authentic with the voice of Chandler, the surfer talk, the tone and cadence, the vocabulary.

The story is a thriller as well.  I really didn’t see a bunch of the twists and turns, and I’m pretty good at seeing that those coming.

I also loved the story of the lost civilization.  That really added a different element to this story that made it more mature.  I would have loved to have learned more about the island and their history.

The themes with Chandler and her grief were extremely well written and thought out.  I understand the need for the surfing.  It is her escape.  It is helping her to keep on surviving.  I have never been surfing, but through the vivid descriptions in this book, I can imagine it in great detail.

I would have liked more info at the end on how Chandler gets to the point she is at four months later.  It is like she is a different person.  And as I understand that her experiences have changed her, I would have liked more of an explanation or more of a build up to the conclusions at the end of the book.

Overall, a great YA story with some elements of sci-fi.

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