Spirit by Brigid Kemmerer

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Elemental 3. Allen and Unwin, 2013. ISBN 9781743310762
(Age 14+) Recommended. Paranormal. Hunter is a loner unsure of who he can trust and what he should do. Everything around him seems to be hostile. His grandfather is out to get him, his mother won't stand up for him and he doesn't know if he can trust the Merrick brothers. Then there is Kate, the new girl at school. Does she have an agenda too?
I love this series mostly because of the way Kemmerer manages to combine lots of action with stacks of emotion and some soul searching about what is right and wrong for both Hunter and Kate. Hunter is such a complex character and in this novel the author brings him to the fore, exploring the anger that he is holding in and the dilemmas that he is facing about whether he should be loyal to the Guides or to the Merricks. His sense of what is right is constantly tested but with all his flaws, the reader is more than willing to go along on his journey. And what a journey! His grandfather hits him and kicks him out, his mother refuses to stand up for him and Kate the hot girl seems to be a player, flirting with all the boys and kissing Silver, the Guide who is out to get him and the Merricks. Michael the oldest brother is a steadfast rock amongst all the uncertainty but Hunter certainly all his powers and beliefs tested in Spirit as Calla the bad girl from the 2nd book in the series, Spark, threatens death and destruction.
Kate Sullivan is another of Kemmerer's feisty girls, who is confident and strong, but she too has doubts about what she is doing. The romance between the two is difficult and tense and some heart breaking scenes are so memorable.
Kemmerer is a brave author who is prepared to look at issues that face teens, like death, bullying, love, homelessness and family relations, all within a paranormal action packed setting that is thrilling to read. There were tears, action, romance and angst in Spirit and I am still reeling from the intensity of some of the unexpected things that happen in this book. Spirit is definitely one for fans of the Elemental series and is sure to please lovers of the paranormal.
Pat Pledger