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August 1, 2012

Review: Struck by Jennifer Bosworth

Mia Price is a lightning addict. She’s survived countless strikes, but her craving to connect to the energy in storms endangers her life and the lives of those around her.Los Angeles, where lightning rarely strikes, is one of the few places Mia feels safe from her addiction. But when an earthquake devastates the city, her haven is transformed into a minefield of chaos and danger. The beaches become massive tent cities. Downtown is a crumbling wasteland, where a traveling party moves to a different empty building each night, the revelers drawn to the destruction by a force they cannot deny. Two warring cults rise to power, and both see Mia as the key to their opposing doomsday prophecies. They believe she has a connection to the freak electrical storm that caused the quake, and to the far more devastating storm that is yet to come.Mia wants to trust the enigmatic and alluring Jeremy when he promises to protect her, but she fears he isn’t who he claims to be. In the end, the passion and power that brought them together could be their downfall. When the final disaster strikes, Mia must risk unleashing the full horror of her strength to save the people she loves, or lose everything. 
There's no denying that the cover of Struck is what initially caught my eye. Then I saw the words  "lightning addict" and I was completely intrigued. When I discovered that the launch party was being held at a bookstore nearby, I immediately started plotting. What started out as mild curiosity quickly shifted into ridiculous excitement to start reading after listening to the author read a segment and witnessing one of the greatest book trailers I have ever seen (YouTube it, seriously). To my delight, I found that every page was just as thrilling as I had hoped.

If it wasn't obvious enough from the cover, Struck is set in the midst of the apocalypse. Earthquakes and storms have destroyed much of Los Angeles, home to protagonist--and lightning addict--Mia Price. Most Angelenos, myself included, would think that she'd be pretty safe in our city. After all, it hardly rains here at all. Thunder and/or lightning storms are even less likely. However, as the beginning of the story emphasizes, "when it rains, it pours". Amid the devastation comes the rise of two opposing cults, the Followers and the Seekers. The Followers, led by villain Rance Ridley Prophet, exemplify the religious fanaticism that comes along with just about every doomsday story. In stark contrast are the Seekers, who spend their days trying to keep Prophet from gaining more ground. Unfortunately for Mia, she becomes increasingly involved with both groups in an attempt to, for lack of a more unique phrase, save the world.

The world-building in Struck was absolutely brilliant. In fact, by the end, I found myself a little on edge about living in LA. Mia's character is so multi-dimensional and I admired her resiliency and desire to protect her family even though her mother chose to follow Prophet while her brother allied with the Seekers. Jeremy, the growing love interest, was a little on the creepy side at first, but I grew to adore him as the book went on. I loved that Jennifer Bosworth was able to shock me with a complete 180 degree turn of events near the end. Also adding to the complexity of the plot was a string of unique secondary characters, such as the Seeker aptly named Katrina.

One final note about Struck--in a literary world with a huge number of books in series, I was actually quite glad to know that this one is currently a standalone. It can easily hold its ground among dystopian/apocalyptic YA of the day. That said, I certainly would not object to buying and reading a sequel or two if Jennifer Bosworth decided to write more. In fact, I'd probably be one of the first people in line at the bookstore.

Rating: 5/5 stars

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