Kyra's Star Ratings: * * * * * all around
As if high school, her parents breaking up, and her mother's health food "cooking" weren't bad enough, Sylvie Sydell finds herself slipping out of her body at unpredictable moments. As her life goes from bad to worse, those moments of astral projection become a refuge... until she discovers the dark side of her strange talent.
Normally, I'm not drawn to YA books (I finished high school 33 years ago and have no desire to re-visit those years) but this book kept me up half the night reading because I had to find out what happened. The characters are well-rounded and engaging - even the popular clique kids aren't just popular clique kids but multi-dimensional individuals, and the adults in the story are also well-done, with their own personalities and heartbreaks. The plot is suspenseful and the stakes rise at every turn. Sylvie goes through a tremendous growth cycle, from being the insecure weird girl at her school to depths that eventually horrify her to a kinder, broader view of the world and, especially, of herself. A lot of the other characters also go through a lot of growth and change.
The writing style is smooth, clear, and evocative. There's also a good bit of humor - I enjoyed Sylvie's jaundiced view of high school and everything connected to it, and her descriptions of her mother's cooking.
All in all, an excellent and enjoyable book.