January 14th, 2007


Tattoo by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Just another Friday afternoon trip to the mall.

We totally should have known better.

When fifteen-year-old Bailey and her three closest friends hit the mall every Friday, they expect the same old routine: Delia will swoon over new cosmetics and clothes, Zo will act as if shopping is torture, but gladly visit the food court, Zo's cousin Annabelle will quietly take everything in, and maybe, just maybe, Bailey will run into her longtime crush, Kane.

On this particular Friday, everything seems normal until the girls meet a saleswoman at a booth. The mysterious woman finds the perfect accessory for three of them: a metal choker for Delia; a crystal on a chain for Zo; and a hair barrette for Annabelle. Bailey, she says, must select something for herself. As she looks through the accessories, she accidentally knocks open a drawer, spilling its contents. What looks like a piece of paper catches her eye. It turns out to be a packet of temporary tattoos, and, encouraged by Delia, that's what she buys.

A short while later, while the girls are trying on clothes and discussing the big dance on Monday, they divvy up the tattoos. As soon as Bailey's tattoo makes contact with her skin, she feels a chill, then heat, as colors swirl and voices chant in her mind. She briefly passes out.

At first, her friends seem to have no adverse reactions to the tattoos. However, it soon becomes apparent that each girl has obtained a supernatural gift which is somewhat related to her personality and the placement of her tattoo. Introspective Annabelle, with her tattoo on the back of her neck, now has the power of mind control. Emotional Bailey, marked on her lower back, can conjure and manipulate fire - also known as pyrokinesis. Sassy fashionista Delia, boldly displaying her tattoo on her midriff, can transmogrify objects, reshaping them and making them into other things. Tomboy Zo, her best (tattooed) foot forward, starts having visions of the future.

The situation quickly becomes serious. The strange voices keep repeating foreboding words in Bailey's mind, speaking of the Blood of the Sidhe. That weekend, as the girls continue to experiment with their powers and research the Sidhe, Bailey's dreams turn to nightmares. The voices warn her that She is coming. But who is She, and what does She want?

When an uninvited evil crashes the school dance on Monday night, the loyalty, intelligence, ingenuity, and strength of all four girls will be tested. The tattoos and powers may or may not be temporary, but it is their friendship that must last in order for them to survive.

Worthy of a sequel, I recommend Tattoo by Jennifer Lynn Barnes to teens and adults who like contemporary supernatural thrillers that utilize ancient myths and give ordinary teens extraordinary powers.

Visit Jennifer's official website.

Read my interview with Jennifer.

Learn more about Jennifer's first novel, Golden.
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wings, believe

Golden by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Lissy James comes from a long line of ladies who possess the Sight, a supernatural sense or ability of some kind. She can see people's auras, with different shades indicating different personalities - and good or bad intentions. The women in her family - especially her younger sister Lexie, who has yet to acquire a Sight of her own - think she should be proud of her Aura Vision and hone her skill. Lissy would rather not broadcast her gift to her classmates.

Before her family moved, Lissy told herself that Oklahoma wouldn't be the same as California, but she had no idea how different it would truly be. At her new school, the popular crowd decides who is hot (or, as they say, Golden) and who is not (Non). Lissy watches as the popular girls work their charms on the boys and realizes something out of the ordinary is going on. Before she knows it, she's swept up in a power struggle not only between social classes but between good and evil.

Jennifer Lynn Barnes' debut novel is sure to appeal to fans of modern-day supernatural stories set in high school. With realistic dialogue, a good amount of twists and turns, and a rainbow of colors, the auras and characters of Golden shine.

Visit Jennifer's official website.

Read my interview with Jennifer.

Learn more about Jennifer's second novel, Tattoo.

A little tidbit: Though auras were not seen on screen in the television series Roswell, they were a part of the original Roswell High book series by Melinda Metz which inspired the show.
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Without a Trace, alone outside

Playlist: Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist

Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist is a book packed with musical references, from the opening acknowledgements until the reader-generated playlists at the website. However, the book doesn't come with a CD. If it did, it would have to be a two-disc special. Disc one would be filled with Nick's original music, of course. Disc two would act as a soundtrack for the book, with each track representing a chapter, and using various artists, alternating male and female voices as they did in the book. That second disc might sound a little something like this:

Chapter/Track One: Nick: Casual Affair by Tonic
Chapter/Track Two: Norah: Genius or a Fool by Jonatha Brooke
Chapter/Track Three: Nick: Hey There, Little Miss Tease by Ricky Nelson
Chapter/Track Four: Norah: Now I'm Following You (Part II) by Madonna
Chapter/Track Five: Nick: Best I Ever Had (Grey Sky Morning) by Vertical Horizon
Chapter/Track Six: Norah: Ex-Girlfriend by No Doubt
Chapter/Track Seven: Nick: Toxic by Nickel Creek
Chapter/Track Eight: Norah: Let Me Sleep by Laika
Chapter/Track Nine: Nick: If You Don't, Don't by Jimmy Eat World
Chapter/Track Ten: Norah: Step On Me by The Cardigans
Chapter/Track Eleven: Nick: Don't Wait by Dashboard Confessional
Chapter/Track Twelve: Norah: Volcano Girls by Veruca Salt
Chapter/Track Thirteen: Nick: On Her Mind by Duncan Sheik
Chapter/Track Fourteen: Norah: Fast As You Can by Fiona Apple
Chapter/Track Fifteen: Nick: So I Fall Again by Phantom Planet
Chapter/Track Sixteen: Norah: Fade Into You by Mazzy Star
Chapter/Track Seventeen: Nick: Flames by VAST
Chapter/Track Eighteen: Norah: Falling In Love by Lisa Loeb
Chapter/Track Nineteen: Nick: I Want You to Want Me by Cheap Trick
Chapter/Track Twenty: Norah: Kids by Robbie Williams and Kylie Minogue

Not Your Typical Boy Meets Girl Story: My review of Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist

Dare to Be Infinite: My 2006 interview with Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

Bridges and Boundaries: My 2007 interview with Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

Thanks to readergirlz, who incorporated much of this playlist into the October 2008 issue of readergirlz.