Another random pick off the shelf, Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes centers around the amusingly named Kali D’Angelo. Every other day, Kali is an average sixteen year-old, arguing with her dad and navigating high school politics. But in the days in between, she changes to something inhuman, a hunter than can sense demons and must satisfy her bloodlust to kill supernatural creatures. She doesn’t understand why she is the way she is, and doesn’t seem too concerned with finding out – until she sees a strange tattoo on the school’s queen bee, indicating that she’s marked for death by a chupacabra. Kali has twenty-four hours to save an innocent life, and it’s the wrong day – she’is human. And it’s her very humanity that leads her to take a life-threatening risk to save another, resulting in action, adventure, and answers about her strange condition in the process.
(Mild spoilers ahead)
Very rarely do vampire novels get my approval these days as the YA market tends to be over-saturated with the bloodsuckers. I think the genius of this novel is that you don’t immediately go into it knowing that it’s a vampire novel (though I should’ve with that cover, right?), so by the time I’ve concluded it’s bloodsucking, it doesn’t generally suck. If I’m honest though, that ending was the worst part of the book as I expected Kali to be something more uniquely demonic befitting her namesake. What was unique was the array of supernatural creatures, from ice dragons to hellhounds, and the alternate history of this world that includes Charles Darwin pioneering scientific discovery and genetic engineering of mythological beasts.
The part I loved best was the friendship between Kali, Bethany, and Skylar. New though it was, they all brought out the best in each other and seemed to be closer than most “best friends forever” in today’s young adult books. Both Bethany and Skylar are fully developed characters, with Bethany more multi-faceted that just a stereotypical mean girl and peppy Skylar having intriguing psychic abilities. With the three being so different, their interactions were both hilariously witty and realistic for the the crazy situations they found themselves in. Most importantly, the (slightly creepy) love interest Zev took a backseat to this friendship and even the complex familial relationship issues – he was pertinent plot-wise, but rarely took up page space.
The pacing of this plot is brisk and engrossing. After a few nerve-wracking climactic reveals, the conclusion seemed a bit confusedly rushed and the epilogue was pretty open-ended on Kali’s future. While the book was extremely entertaining as a stand-alone, I still want more thorough explanations and a greater exploration of this world. And after this one, I am highly willing to read Barnes’ future books to get it!