Holding Smoke ARC Review -- An Out Of Body Experience . . . Literally.


Holding Smoke | Elle Cosimano
Release Date: May 3rd | Disney Hyperion
Genre(s): Young Adult, Contemporary, (Paranormal?)
Pages: 336
Edition: Paperback ARC
Source: Irish Banana Blog Tours
Rating:



John "Smoke" Conlan is serving time for two murders but he wasn't the one who murdered his English teacher, and he never intended to kill the only other witness to the crime. A dangerous juvenile rehabilitation center in Denver, Colorado, known as the Y, is Smoke's new home and the only one he believes he deserves.

But, unlike his fellow inmates, Smoke is not in constant imprisonment. After a near-death experience leaves him with the ability to shed his physical body at will, Smoke is able to travel freely outside the concrete walls of the Y, gathering information for himself and his fellow inmates while they're asleep in their beds. Convinced his future is only as bright as the fluorescent lights in his cell, Smoke doesn't care that the "threads" that bind his soul to his body are wearing thin-that one day he may not make it back in time. That is until he meets Pink, a tough, resourceful girl who sees him for who he truly is and wants to help him clear his name.

Now Smoke is on a journey to redemption he never thought possible. With Pink's help, Smoke may be able to reveal the true killer, but the closer they get to the truth, the more deadly their search becomes. The web of lies, deceit, and corruption that put Smoke behind bars is more tangled than they could have ever imagined. With both of their lives on the line, Smoke will have to decide how much he's willing to risk, and if he can envision a future worth fighting for.


I received a review copy courtesy of the author/publisher. This does not affect my opinion or views regarding the book whatsoever.

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REVIEW

Why Can't I Have A Cool Ability Like YA Characters?
I want to be able to go invisible so I can snatch food without paying. Hey don't judge, steak gets expensive. 

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When I first read the synopsis to Holding Smoke, I had an entirely different idea of what the book would actually be about. The blurb isn't vague by far, but somewhere down the line my mind mixed things up, and by the time I finally started reading, I was so caught off guard and pleasantly surprised, that I had no clue what to do with myself. This book ended up being sorta addictive, entertaining in a way that I obviously wasn't expecting.

It's All About Perspective. 
I remember mentioning this before, but I absolutely love reading books from the male perspective! I've never been able to fully put my finger on it, but it's refreshing, almost an entirely different experience when you can witness life through the eyes of the opposite sex. Most books in YA are told from the female POV, which if we're being honest, can get a little boring. Boys are exciting, and it's not because they have penises . . .

Okay partially because they have penises.

John, better known as Smoke was one heck of an interesting character. He was accused of not one but two murders, landing him in a Juvenile Rehabilitation Center, (in other words, his ass was in jail) but it wasn't his alleged " dangerous " background that intrigued me, it was the aspect that took this story from a normal contemporary, to more of a " paranormal-ish "type novel . . . his ability.

Out Of Body, Out Of Mind. 
Can you imagine having the ability to slip outside of your body? To leave your human form, and wander around the world as some sort of spirit? That would be the best and weirdest shit ever, but it made this story so much more intriguing. Like how most juvenile centers operate, Smoke used his ability to retrieve information from the outside world for his juvie mates, in return for various things. He called them jobs and at night he'll leave his body after lights out, completing favors for others such as, checking on a cellmate's mother, or finding out if a prison guard's girlfriend is cheating on him. They started out pretty innocent, but then his own life comes into the mix, and soon we're unraveling the mystery behind the murders he's being accused of committing.

Do I Really Know You?
I really enjoyed Smoke as a character. He was a super chill guy, with enough a snarky personality to keep me from getting bored of him. He was also clever, and I especially while he didn't want to take up for certain people within the jail, he did it anyway. He was a pretty stand up guy but unfortunately, it ends there. I didn't feel as though he was developed enough, and as I'm thinking about it, none of the characters were. Pink the " interest " was also a character I liked to read about, but she didn't make enough of an impact to be remembered. If it wasn't for the fact that her name was " Pink ", I'm sure she would've been forgotten from the start.

This novel shows a strong case of how a concept can literally carry a book. I'm not sure if I would've completely loved this if it wasn't for Smoke's cool ability. I was pleased with the nice flow of the writing, and even though the characters were a bit flat for me, they managed to do their job which was to keep me as a reader, entertained. If you're looking for something that's light to read in between other books, I'd definitely give Holding Smoke a go!

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