17-year-old Becca spent her whole life protecting her brother from, well, everything. The abandonment of their father, the so called ‘experts’ who insist that voices in his head are unnatural and must be dealt with, and the constant threat of being taken away to some hospital and studied like an animal. When two representatives appear claiming to have the answers to Ryland’s perceived problem, Becca doesn’t buy it for one second. That is until they seem to know things about Ryland and about Becca and Ryland’s family, that forces Becca to concede that there may be more to these people than meets the eye. Though still highly skeptical, Becca agrees to do what’s best for Ryland.
What they find at St. Brigid’s is a world beyond their imagination. Little by little they piece together the information of their family’s heritage, their estranged Father, and the legend of the Holder race that decrees Ryland is the one they’ve been waiting for. However, they are all–especially Becca–in for a surprise that will change what they thought they knew about themselves and their kind.
She meets Alex, a Holder who is fiercely loyal to their race, and for some reason, Becca and Ryland. There’s an attraction between Becca and Alex that can’t be denied, but her true nature seems destined to keep them apart. However, certain destinies may not be as clear cut as everyone has always believed them to be.
Becca is lost, but found at the same time. Can she bring herself to leave Ryland now that he’s settled and can clearly see his future? Will she be able to put the the feelings she has for Alex aside and head back to the US? And can Becca and Ryland ever forgive their father for what he’s done?
The basic world for The Holders was a bit like X-Men – there is this school for special kids who have powers, and are called Holders, led by a psychic professor. Told from Rebecca’s POV, who is the estranged daughter of the said professor, it follows her story when she enters the Holders society for the sake of her kid brother’s happiness. She finds acceptance and a bit of belonging in the school and especially a bond with Alex. At first, an imprinting-like phenomenon that occurs in the Holders throws a wrench into the potential romance, but as the story develops so does their relationship. It is sort of beautiful and cute how they come together and I think they are one of the few fictional couples that actually complement and complete each other. The canon of the Holder universe is very interesting – with heredity determining the powers and even their lore, the origin of their powers, is so magical and intriguing (especially the Anam thing).
Rebecca comes off as a extremely prickly character in the start and her abandonment issues along with her distrust for authoritative figures gives a lot of snark and attitude to her character. She is not bambi-eyed even when she meets Alex for the first time; instead she tells him off for even coming for her brother. Family ranks high on her list of priorities, even though she feels they don’t need her anymore. Her finding a reason for being in the Holder society was interesting and I wouldn’t want to give anything away, but I saw it coming. The potrayal secondary characters need a little more insight, though, as besides Alex, they more or less blended into the background. Her father, especially – such a complex character but I would have loved more of the interaction with his daughter besides their heart-to-heart at the end.
Speaking of the end, I loved how things played out. I was, in fact, a bit sad when I realized there were few pages left – I want to read more and more of this series. Brilliant start, I say!
Received a copy from Strange Chemistry via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review