Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Teen/YA Review: Overpowered

For my Big Book Summer Challenge, I went through my overflowing TBR shelves in search of any Big Books (400+ pages). For my last Big Book of the summer, I was also looking for something in the suspenseful/spooky realm because I read my last summer book over Labor Day weekend, in September, and I love participating in the R.I.P. Challenge this time of year, too. I found the perfect seasonal cross-over book with Overpowered by Mark H. Kruger, a sci fi thriller about a small town in Colorado with some very weird things going on (this was published back in 2013, so it has been on my TBR shelves for a while).

Sixteen-year old Nica is used to an exciting, international lifestyle. Her mother is an eco-travel journalist, traveling all over the world, so Nica has lived in such far-flung places as Patagonia, India, Morocco, and Tasmania. She and her mom are currently living in Thailand, but Nica is shocked to find out that she is not going along on her mother’s next assignment, to Antarctica. Instead, her mom wants Nica to go live with her father in Barrington, CO, for the next two years. Barrington is a tiny town, and Nica is not happy with this move from international freedom to a tiny boring town with a nightly curfew.

Boredom is not a problem for long, however, because Nica starts to notice some pretty strange things about Barrington. Besides the curfew, everything else is just as tightly controlled, with extra security detail provided by the local company in town. The people there – kids and parents alike – are so well-behaved that it’s spooky. Nica is normally kind of an outsider, moving from place to place, but here, the most popular girl in school wants her to be a cheerleader and join a bunch of other school activities.

Nica can’t see herself as a cheerleader, but she is intrigued by a handsome, reclusive boy named Jackson Winters. He barely talks to anyone at school, but kids tell her he used to be the most popular boy there. He changed when his girlfriend went missing, though her parents insist she is staying with relatives out of town. Nica is also drawn to an unlikely friend: geeky, wise-cracking Oliver, who seems to share her lack of enthusiasm for all the hoopla in the very peppy high school.

One night, bored, jet-lagged, and stuck in her room, Nica sneaks out after curfew when she sees the mysterious Jackson drive by in a car with the lights off. She follows him and witnesses something amazing while she is out. A sudden pulse of greenish glow lights up the sky. Even stranger, things feel different afterward, and the next day at school, the other kids are acting really weird. As Nica, Jackson, and Oliver begin to talk about what they experienced, they become friends and uncover some very strange things going on in sleepy little Barrington.

Plenty of suspense, action, and sci fi adventure ensues, as the three teens get closer and closer to the town’s well-kept secrets. Along the way, they get to know each other better, as does the reader. There is plenty of depth to the characters and lots of twists and turns in this thriller, to keep you guessing – and glued to the pages well past bedtime! I read this novel very quickly, with its fast pacing and irresistible suspense. I don’t always finish series after reading the first book, but I am very eager now to read book 2, Overtaken (NOTE: don’t read any blurbs describing Overtaken if you haven't yet read Overpowered because they give away lots of spoilers).

423 pages, Simon & Schuster

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by Mark H. KrugerTrade Paperback

Or order Overpowered from Northshire Bookstore in Manchester, VT:



  1. This isn't really my kind of book, but I can see it being very popular with teens. When I was high school I loved to read scary stuff (think V.C. Andrews)

    1. This wasn't scary so much as suspenseful.

      I was the same in HS - lots of Stephen King and yes, VC Andrews, too (more creepy than scary, I think - pretty warped stuff!)