The Bargain by Michael J. Shell

The Bargain by Michael J Shell
The Bargain by Michael J Shell
A Vertigo Novel
Publisher: Self
Genre: paranormal, suspense, occult/horror, young adult
Length: 224 pages
Age Recommendation: 14+
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Review by: Stephanotis

Several years after Mr. Pike’s mysterious visit, Jenna and Jackie have settled back into their everyday lives. On Jenna’s fourteenth birthday, her friend brings a spirit board to the sleepover and Jenna believes that she has contacted her dead mother.

It soon becomes apparent that the spirit is anything but Jenna’s mother. When her father is gunned down in front of her, Jenna makes a bargain with the strange spirit to save her father and herself. What Jenna does not consider is that a deal like this carries a steep price, one that only she can pay.

This is the third book it the Vertigo series that I’ve read and it was interesting to see how the main character, Jenna Parker, has grown physically and mentally since book one.

Jenna is now fourteen and I think the author did a great job making her character fit into a teenager’s likes, dislikes, and how they begin to view the world through a different perspective. However, Jenna isn’t your average girl. She has special abilities that she only really discovered in book two. This time around, she’s more her own person which often leads her into trouble.

I’ve always enjoyed reading about Jenna and the other cast of characters in this series. The dialogue is very natural sounding, there’s a nice flow to the stories and the pacing is spot on. I’ve never really been sure if this series is for young adults, adults or both, but after reading this installment, I think I’d recommend it to young adults. It has suspense, the occult, lots of what’s going to happen next, that I feel this age group will enjoy. There’s also the opportunity to relate to Jenna as she moves from tween to someone who’s trying to deal with their parents, step-parent and all while trying to find their place in the world.

While this could be read as a standalone book, I do think you should read the other two books to get the most out of the characters and plot. Will there be a fourth installment? It looks like the author went with an opening ending so it’s possible we’ll see Jenna again.

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