Avery Gray was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and happened to make a decision that altered her future forever. It happens to all of us every day.
Avery is a size twelve university student with a penchant for dry humour, and she’s as normal as they come. Up until now, the biggest choice she’s had to make was glasses or contacts? At the moment, it’s stay and save, or leave and be saved.
Allow me to explain. One rainy afternoon, Avery had to make a choice: go through the alleyway or around it. Two possible options. One would have had her future continue on as planned, the other would ensure that her future never remained the same again. She unknowingly went with the latter.
But change is not always bad. Avery meets Theodore-James Connors, an enigmatic young man who takes her to Hayven, a city separated from the rest of the world, where only gifters – ordinary people with extra-ordinary gifts – can go. She soon finds herself in a close-knit group of friends she’d never have imagined herself in. Friends who are diverse in every possible way, from their ethnic backgrounds, to their personalities, from their gifts, to their life stories. Friends who make her laugh, who make her cry, who make her think and who make her…her.
However, change is not always good. The beautiful, golden city of Hayven has its dark side – Cliders. Gifters turned rogue, aka, Cliders are determined to aid fallen Clider, Madrina, return to rule Hayven. They will stop at nothing to make that happen, including harming those Ava has grown to love.
Again, Ava is faced with a choice: spend her days finding a way to inhibit Madrina’s return, or walk away. After all, she isn’t the chosen one. Yet, there exists a third option – rig the future itself and make it work for her.
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Firstly, a very big thank you to J.A. George, who was kind enough to send me a copy of Gifted to review!
Gifted was a great book with upbeat, fun and realistic characters and an interesting plot that I thoroughly enjoyed.
The first thing that hit me, from the very first page of Gifted, was the powerful sense of atmosphere. The glum and rainy day, the way it was described, really set the tone for the first chapter and made it engaging and interesting, something that carried on throughout the novel.
I really liked Ava as a character – she was so real in that she struggles with issues such as body image, and is learning to accept herself, something that so many people can relate to, connect with and take inspiration from.
Besides Ava, there was an interesting and fun cast of characters in her friend group in Hayven and I really enjoyed reading about them all, despite feeling at times there needed to be more to show the development of their friendship with Ava. I feel like there was a lot more development in Ava’s relationship with Theo (who I loved) and I adored their friendship at the beginning of the book. I did, however, feel like their chemistry lacked somewhat a little further in the book, before picking back up towards the end. I would have loved to have gotten to know each of the other characters more slowly, like with Theo, and to flesh them out a little more, yet from what I do know about them, I loved. I loved how each character was so different and unique in their own ways, and remained a vital part of the story instead of being pushed to the side in the midst of the plot.
The writing style was very engaging but, I found, a little over descriptive at times. I liked the unique plotline, and the idea of Madrina and the Cliders, but there were also times when I wished for more action or something to drive the plot forward – though it never got boring. Gifted seemed to focus more on setting up the context and suspense for the upcoming battles that Ava must face, and I feel like there’s going to be a LOT more action in Book 2. I am very excited to see more of Ava & co in the next book!
Rating: Gifted was the intriguing first book in the Hayven Series, which sets up the rest of the series for a lot more action, suspense, romance and epic battles.★★★☆☆