Clean Slate Complex
by Megan Thomason.
(Book received for free for review from (author?).)
Before I start reading a book, I take my time looking at the cover, reading the copyright pages, the dedication, all the pre-story pages. In doing so, I noticed something odd about this book: There was no publisher listed. Even when a book is self-published, there's usually a line on the copyright page mentioning who did the printing. Nothing at all in this book.
Going back to the original offer, I found no publisher listed in it, either. Perhaps the author made it available herself?
So, assuming it was self-published, I wasn't expecting much at all. Frowning, I read the first page... and found I liked the writing style. Simple but clean, and the story caught my interest right away.
My first impression held through the whole book. I really, really enjoyed it. (Self-published book #3 that I enjoyed!)
I did find an interesting clue in those pre-story pages. The author's warning that the characters weren't based on RL people sounded just like it was taken out of a fanfic header. And in the last couple pages post-story, where she was thanking people? She listed about a dozen alpha and beta readers! Now THAT is how you self-publish! :D (I found not a single typo or grammar issue in the whole book, which impressed me. Though with so many alpha and beta readers, I'd be surprised if any had slipped through.)
But, the important part. The story! I enjoyed almost all of it. It started with a homeless family, mother and three children living in their van. Modern day American city by my guess. In their darkest period, they're picked up by someone from the Second Chance Institute (SCI), a worldwide non-profit organization with the motto "Because Everyone Deserves a Second Chance at Life". They take in the poor and homeless, giving them training, education, etc. The family is taken to a center, given medical care, food, and a place to live.
is going on behind the scenes. Something involving other planets? We're given clues by one of the characters -- but are they really clues? Or is it misleading tidbits of information?
Unfortunately we never find out. Turns out this story was a companion book to the original book, meant to flesh some things out and explain other things. Without having read the first book, I can only guess as to what was really going on behind the scenes at SCI. (What I could guess, I really really liked and wanted to know more about.)
Also, this book ended on a cliffhanger -- no attempt at all was made to bring the story to any sort of a conclusion. That made me grumpy.
My only other minor quibble: The main character was a teenage girl, and boy am I tired of reading stories told from their POVs. Snarky, smart-mouthed, sarcastic, confident to a fault -- every teenage girl from a YA book always seems the same. At least this one was the least annoying of all the ones I've read recently.
As much as I enjoyed this story, I'm hesitating at buying the first book. Based on the Amazon summary, it sounds like there will be a teenage love-triangle, and that would be a real turn-off for me. However, I think the strength of the writing and my own curiosity about the plot will push me over the edge and I'll end up getting it.Clean Slate Complex
is currently available for only 99 cents on Amazon. It's well-worth that, even with the cliffhanger ending.