Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Mark by Jen Nadol

Book Details
The Mark by Jen Nadol
Hardcover, 240 pages
2010, Bloomsbury USA Children's Books
ISBN: 1599904314

Cassandra Renfield has always seen the mark—a glow around certain people reminiscent of candlelight. But the one time she mentioned it, it was dismissed as a trick of the light. Until the day she watches a man awash in the mark die. After searching her memories, Cassie realizes she can see a person’s imminent death. Not how or where, only when: today.

Armed with a vague understanding of the light, Cassie begins to explore her “gift,” seeking those marked for death and probing the line between decision and destiny. Though she’s careful to hide her secret—even from her new philosophy-obsessed boyfriend—with each impending death comes the temptation to test fate. But so many questions remain. How does the mark work? Why is she the only one who sees it? And finally, the most important of all: If you know today is someone’s last, should you tell them?

The Mark was thought provoking and filled with philosophical references. Cassie is a fellow Stephen King fan and many of his works were mentioned, which always delights me.

The main question of the novel: What would you do if you had Cassie's gift/curse of knowing that a person is going to die today? There is no easy answer and you get to see, through Cassie's actions, the different ways that decision could effect people's lives.

I got the feeling there was something more going on with Cassie's friend Tasha, but nothing came of it. I was also left wondering where things might be headed in Cassie's romantic life. Both leave an opening for a sequel or perhaps even an entire series. There is room for more story to be told, but the major story line of the novel is both complete and fulfilling.

Cassie is completely on her own at the age of sixteen and had more than her share to deal with. Her relationship with Lucas seems real, yet uncomfortable. There is a lot of inner turmoil, dealing with mortality and struggling to live with what is both a gift and a curse. The book is dark at times, but the subject matter isn't something that can be dealt with lightly.

The Mark is beautifully written and invokes genuine feeling, managing to be both deep and entertaining.


Jen Nadol's


  1. I've been hearing good things about this one.

  2. I've also been hearing good things. Thanks for the review. I will have to check it out.

  3. I just read and reviewed this book as well! I really enjoyed it, but found Cass' character a bit of a stretch for the YA genre. I gave it 4/5 as well! :)

  4. I am definitely going to read this one.

  5. Sounds like a good one. A little similar to Numbers by Rachel Ward, in which a girl can tell the date on which a person will die. I would not want that talent at all.

  6. Oh yes, similar to Numbers, which I only read the synopsis and some reviews too. I don't think it's a gift at all, it'd be like living a nightmare.