I was thrilled when I heard that Meg Cabot was once again tossing her hat into the supernatural romance ring. After all, her The Mediator and 1-800-Where-R-You? series are some of my all-time favorite YA titles, so my hopes for her new book Abandon were very, very high.
Abandon, the first book in a projected trilogy, is a modern retelling of the Persephone and Hades myth. It's been two years since 17-year-old Pierce Oliviera had a near-death experience in her backyard pool, but her life has never been the same. She's been kicked out of her former school, her mother has moved them to Florida's Isla Huesos, and John, the hot, broody guy she met in the afterlife—the same guy who, disturbingly, seemed to be in charge—keeps turning up in unexpected places and yelling at her.
Long-time fans of Cabot's books will recognize elements of this story. John is the quintessential Cabot love interest: devoted, bossy, and (way) older than the heroine. Dreamy, scatterbrained Pierce initially seems like more of a pushover than Cabot's previous heroines, but her easy-going nature hides a stubborn streak that prevents John from overwhelming her. Cabot has explored the overprotective guy/independent girl romantic dynamic before, but she takes it much, much further in this book—John is convinced the only way to protect Pierce is to imprison her in his Underworld bachelor pad forever, and Pierce is (understandably) voting no. I have no idea how Cabot plans to transform her hero from what can only be described as a creepy stalker extraordinaire into the kind of guy a modern girl would actually date, but I look forward to finding out.
However! A word of warning! I really recommend waiting to read Abandon until the final two books in the series have been released. One of the most appealing things about Cabot's earlier series was the way she balanced the slow development of her romantic storylines with the immediate gratification of solving each installment's central mystery. Abandon, on the other hand, is 90% romantic tension and only 10% everything else, so while one or two plot points were tied up in this book, the majority were left unresolved. This means I'm in for a long, frustrating wait until the next book—2012's Underworld—hits bookstore shelves.
Review based on publisher-provided copy.