Image and synopsis from Amazon:
“It’s never wise to talk to strangers…and that goes double when they’re dead. Unfortunately, seventeen-year-old Anna Morgan has no choice. Resting on a park bench, touching the turnstile at the Metro station—she never knows where she’ll encounter a ghost. These mental hitchhikers are the reason Anna has been tossed from one foster home and psychiatric institution to the next for most of her life.
When a chance touch leads her to pick up the insistent spirit of a girl who was brutally murdered, Anna is pulled headlong into a deadly conspiracy that extends to the highest levels of government. Facing the forces behind her new hitcher’s death will challenge the barriers, both good and bad, that Anna has erected over the years and shed light on her power’s origins. And when the covert organization seeking to recruit her crosses the line by kidnapping her friend, it will discover just how far Anna is willing to go to bring it down.”
Release date: October 11, 2016
**I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**
The Delphi Effect has an interesting premise. I am a huge fan of Meg Cabot’s Mediator series so I was excited to see another story with a main character who could communicate with ghosts. Walker’s portrayal of Anna’s power is certainly unique. Instead of seeing physical ghosts, Anna picks them up and they essentially become part of her until they move on. Anna calls them “hitchers” and communicates with them via silent conversation in her head. When they do move on, Anna is left with a lifetime’s worth of memories that she must sort through and file away. The most interesting aspect of this is that Anna seemed to be able to inherit skills from these ghosts, such as driving and ice skating. I loved this unique portrayal of her abilities!
The plot itself starts off promising. We begin the story with Anna and her current hitcher, Molly. Molly was brutally murdered and Anna is helping to uncover what really happened. As they delve further into the mystery, they begin to uncover a larger conspiracy involving other people with abilities similar to Anna.
While the plot sounds exciting, there were too many aspects of the story that inhibited my enjoyment of the story. While I enjoyed Anna’s ability, her character bothered me because her actions often seemed irrational. After her foster brother Deo is kidnapped, she meets up with a group of people who want to help her save him- Aaron, Sam, Taylor, and Daniel- but she consistently tries to run away from them because she thinks she will be more successful on her own. This frustrated me to no end. The group she was with was more knowledgeable and more powerful than she was on her own, so logically it did not make sense to run away.
Another aspect of the story that really hindered the plot for me was all of the pop culture references. This is absolutely a personal opinion because people may enjoy this more than I did. For me, I appreciate books that have a timeless quality to them. Yes, they can take place in a certain time period but if there is any kind of supernatural or fantasy element to it I prefer that it is not compared so closely to my world. This book was full of references from books like Harry Potter and Twilight, TV shows like Psych, etc. Again, this is a highly personal opinion so it might not bother other readers.
As the story progressed, I continued to wait for that “wow” moment but it never really came. I don’t really feel as if we got any substantial answers throughout the story. We understood what happened with Molly and a little more about how Anna has these powers but we never really get the why. Why does this covert organization exist? What is the purpose of it? I feel like these questions were never fully hashed out.
The last 30% of the book was much more enjoyable for me. There were some revelations about Anna that I found interesting. There was also quite the twist at the end which I definitely appreciated! This story had all the right elements, but I unfortunately could never really connect with the characters and overall felt unenthusiastic upon finishing the story. If you choose to read it, I do hope you enjoy it more than I did!