Title: On a Dark Wing
Author: Jordan Dane
Release Date: December 27, 2011
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Five years ago, Abbey cheated Death. She survived a horrific car accident, but at the expense of her mother's life. After she crossed paths with death, by taking the hand of a boy made of clouds and sky, her life would never be the same. Now, on a trip with her still mourning father, she's being courted by mysterious ravens. Apparently, Death doesn't forget.
On a Dark Wing was haunting, emotional, and chilling. It cuts deep to the heart of the story, the story of a young girl and her brushes with Death, of some people around her, and of Death's unfinished business with her. I did not expect the journey this book took me on, into the depths of Abbey's raw and troubled soul, but I was glad to be there.
Abbey reminded me of a teenage girl shunned by most of her peers. She seems depressed after the accident that took her mother, she has body issues (like almost every teen girl), she hides junk food, she's been bullied and tossed aside by her classmates, and she and her friend Tanner suffered from harsh and degrading cyber-bullying. Life for Abbey is bleak, pointless except for Tanner and the crush she has on Nate. She has Death on one side and high school on the other, both of them chipping away at what little self-esteem and hope she has left. But she won't talk about it, even with Tanner. It's all bottled up inside, eating away at her like a horrible disease.
The alternating points of view gives us multiple sides of the story, not just Abbey's. There's Nate's, with his about survival and his own brush with death. There's Tanner, with his own less than perfect life but his need to help keep Abbey from the edge, his need to make things better for her. The characterization was wonderfully crafted, everyone felt so real, even Death and his fascination with both Abbey and with humans in general.
This is the story of Abbey finding herself, of Abbey pulling herself away from the edge. Death happens, and it is tragic, but we can't waste our lives waiting for it to catch us and take us. Life doesn't have to be brutal and painful, we can fill it with friends and family and happy memories after tragic events. This book doesn't sugar-coat anything. Life as a teenager often sucks just like Abbey's does, but there's always something to live for.
(I received an e-galley of this book to review through NetGalley from Harlequin.)