Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Publication date: September 18th 2012
My rating: 3.5 stars
Goodreads Description: Dying sucks--and high school senior Ember McWilliams knows firsthand. After a fatal car accident, her gifted little sister brought her back. Now anything Ember touches dies. And that, well, really blows.
Ember operates on a no-touch policy with all living things--including boys. When Hayden Cromwell shows up, quoting Oscar Wilde and claiming her curse is a gift, she thinks he’s a crazed cutie. But when he tells her he can help control it, she’s more than interested. There’s just one catch: Ember has to trust Hayden's adopted father, a man she's sure has sinister reasons for collecting children whose abilities even weird her out. However, she’s willing to do anything to hold her sister's hand again. And hell, she'd also like to be able to kiss Hayden. Who wouldn't?
But when Ember learns the accident that turned her into a freak may not've been an accident at all, she’s not sure who to trust. Someone wanted her dead, and the closer she gets to the truth, the closer she is to losing not only her heart, but her life. For real this time.
Ember McWilliams feels cursed. I think I would feel the same way if I had her ability. Two years ago she was in a car accident in which she died and was brought back to life by her little sister, Olivia. Ever since then her touch kills any living thing. She goes around with gloves to prevent any accidents but also to cover scars all over her arms left by the accident. As if that wasn’t enough, her normally brown eyes were turned sky blue after the accident. Ember once was a popular outgoing normal girl in school and now because of the changes, is ridiculed and treated like a freak at school. School isn’t the only challenge in Ember’s life though. Her father was killed in the accident and her mother is basically catatonic, leaving Ember to care for Olivia, who is now five years old. Talk about being dealt some bad cards! Ember starts seeing a mysterious boy, Hayden, show up all over the place, seeming to know way more about her than she does of him. Okay, he’s sort of gorgeous, but that doesn’t make it any less creepy!
For two years Ember has managed to keep things together but after an ex-boyfriend, and now bully, backs Ember into a corner and pretty much assaults her, he dies from her touch. Hayden and an unknown group steps in to cover the accident, and takes her whole family in. Well, maybe not takes in as much as kidnaps. Ember does not go willingly, and they don’t care. Turns out there are others with special abilities that all live together as a family with Hayden’s father, Jonathan Cromwell as the leader. Olivia couldn’t be happier and bonds with this “family” immediately. Ember is a different story though, because of her ability, none of the others besides Hayden want her there. Ember is drawn to Hayden, understandably so because he is basically her only friend and advocate. Sparks fly between these two, but she wonders if she can trust him with his obvious devotion to his father. Ember is completely suspicious of Mr. Cromwell’s intentions, and he’s not so friendly to her either. Then, Ember discovers there may be more to her “accident” two years ago and no longer knows who to trust.
I really felt bad for Ember. She really had her life go down the toilet, and then had to shoulder such great responsibility on top of coping with her power. The members of the Cromwell house, with the exception of Hayden, Parker and Ms. Liz, are downright rude to her. Phoebe, the twin sister to Parker, really got under my skin. I thought she was a hateful, jealous, witch! I can’t imagine living a life where you couldn’t touch another living being. How horrible would that be?! Hayden has a power that helps with that issue, but I don’t want to say anymore and give anything away. I really liked Hayden in this story! The fact that he made it his goal to make Ember feel welcome and normal again totally won me over. Well that and of course some swoon-worthy scenes! Here’s one that got my blood pumping in anticipation:
Hayden opened his eyes. “Em….?” His stare held so much intensity that I found it difficult to breath. A look of yearning, of desperation, and he was studying me. Studying my face, the way my top had slipped down. And is stare was spreading a hot flush over my body. Slowly, he dipped down, placing his weight on one arm. He brought his hand to the side of my face, his fingers hovering over my cheek. My own fingers curled into the sweater. God, I wanted him to touch me so badly. The need consumed me—burned like fire.
I’ll leave you to wonder whether he touches her or not!
While I enjoyed Cursed and had a lot of fun reading it, it’s not my favorite of Jennifer L. Armentrout’s. With that said, I still think any JLA fan will still enjoy this story, as I did. If the first half was as engrossing as the second, I would’ve rated this higher; it just dragged a little in the beginning. Also, while the mystery does wrap up in this book I felt like we could have more to this story. I was a little surprised that this is a stand-alone. Unless someone knows something I don’t. But don’t worry; it doesn’t leave off on a bad note or anything.
I just want to shout out a thank you to my wonderful blogger friend, Alexa over at Collections for lending me her copy! She’s a booklover’s dream-friend!