Author: Trisha Leigh
Series: The Cavy Files, #1
Genre: Young Adult – Science Fiction
Publication Information: Self-published, 2014
Age Recommendation: Middle School/High School
Inconsequential: not important or significant.
Synonyms: insignificant, unimportant, nonessential, irrelevant
In the world of genetic mutation, Gypsy’s talent of knowing a person’s age of death is considered a failure. Her
peers, the other Cavies, have powers that range from curdling a blood still in the vein to being able to overhear a conversation taking place three miles away, but when they’re taken from the sanctuary where they grew up and forced into the real world, Gypsy, with her all-but-invisible gift, is the one with the advantage.
The only one who’s safe, if the world finds out what they can do.
When the Cavies are attacked and inoculated with an unidentified virus, that illusion is shattered. Whatever was attached to the virus causes their abilities to change. Grow. In some cases, to escape their control.
Gypsy dreamed of normal high school, normal friends, a normal life, for years. Instead, the Cavies are sucked under a sea of government intrigue, weaponized genetic mutation, and crushing secrets that will reframe everything they’ve ever been told about how their “talents” came to be in the first place.
When they find out one of their own has been appropriated by the government, mistreated and forced to run dangerous missions, their desire for information becomes a pressing need. With only a series of guesses about their origins, the path to the truth becomes quickly littered with friends, enemies, and in the end, the Cavies ability to trust anyone at all.
(Summary from Goodreads.)
I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review. This in no way swayed my opinion.
There are a lot of books out there about people with genetic mutations that give them strange and occasionally terrifying abilities. Gypsy caught my attention right away, though, because unlike a lot of these books, there is a large emphasis on the setting. Through Gypsy’s eyes, South Carolina came to life, and it almost made me love the South – which is a huge compliment, because a fan of the South, I am not. (I’ll stick to my mountains, dry heat, and boring insects, please and thank you.) In a lot of books like this, the setting falls by the wayside because the character is so focused on learning how to control their abilities or variations thereof, but the setting plays a huge part in Gypsy’s story and it is reflected accordingly.
Gypsy herself is similarly interesting. She is distinguished by the fact that her ability is, frankly, mediocre, and she doesn’t really fit in anywhere because of this – not with the other Cavies with their more useful abilities; and not with general society because of her power, which is a struggle for her throughout the book. I think this feeling of being an outsider is something a lot of teenagers can relate to, if not necessarily the circumstances.
Gypsy’s power, and trying to hide it, impacts her relationship with other people throughout the book. She finds some relief in being with the other Cavies, because they know about her power and she doesn’t have to hide it with them, but there’s also the fact that they’re less excited than her about having a “normal” life. On the other hand, Gypsy wants to let the new people in her life in, but it’s hard when she can’t even touch them. I think of all the new people in Gypsy’s life, my favorite was her dad, and I loved watching their relationship develop throughout the book. It was nice to see a parent actually present in a YA book.
I also like how we were kept guessing the entire time. Gypsy and the others would think they could trust someone, and then something else would happen, and then it wouldn’t be so obvious who the bad guy was. Which I loved – the ambiguity as far as the antagonists goes. It’s so much more interesting when there’s some gray area there as opposed to black and white.
If you like books about people with extraordinary abilities who have to work to reach their potential or books where it isn’t obvious who the bad guy is, then Gypsy is one you should give a try.
Rating: 4/5 Stars