“Can’t Buy Forever” by Susan Laffoon

This story starts out like a simple Young Adult romance: Girl meets Boy, Girl loses Boy, Girl gets Boy. But very early we get hints that all is not as it seems. We are gradually eased into realizing that there are deeper waters flowing, here. This author has a deft touch with the supernatural, and uses restraint in allowing the story to be about the feelings of the characters, not about playing with magic.

Other strengths of the story are the likeable and interesting characters, who keep us enthralled and connected throughout, and plenty of action interspersed with introspection.

However, there are problems.

To say that the plot wanders is an understatement. A common complaint about poorly structured novels is that they start too early and end too late. This one comes to a reasonable conclusion twice, but each time is forced onwards, trying to tie up loose plot threads. The author should have had the courage to end it the first time, heart-wrenching though that may have been.

The emotion of the story is enhanced by coming intensely from the point of view of the main character, Odessa, a needy teenager in love with someone who seems to care, but keeps her at arm’s length. Our connection with her increases throughout the story but is broken suddenly when, for the sole purpose of giving us plot information, the POV switches to that of another character. Then we are expected to jump back into Dessa’s emotions again. This happens few enough times that each one is a shock to our connection with the story.

Another problem is a plot that requires introducing random characters at the very end who suddenly play crucial roles in the story. This sounds like an author who doesn’t have control of her material. Not to mention the grammar mistakes, mixed–up sentences and misused words.

Recommended for fans of mild paranormal romances. Recommended for the author: an editor. This could so easily be a 5-star book.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

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