Elise Stokes has done it again in her latest installment of the Cassidy Jones Adventures series. Volume 3, The Seventh Attendant not only packs a punch in terms of action and adventure, but also brings that one element that breathes life to a piece of writing: heart.
Just when I thought I could not love these characters any more I'm pleased to admit I fell even harder for them. I adore the people around Cassidy and I could write blog after blog about each of the main protagonists because Elise gave us much of what makes up their soul.
Cassidy's biggest asset as a superhero (though she thinks of herself as a mutant) is her very humanity. Her adoration of her little brother, her affection for her friends, namely Emery, and her crushed out feelings over Jared, gives readers a real connection. Who among us has not had that special friend or been victim to the whims of romance in our early years?
I got to learn quite a bit more about her supporting cast. The experience was akin to boarding an elevator that took me to new depths of their personas.
I was completely taken in by Cassidy's dilemmas, resolutions, adventures, and superpowers of course, but it's the relationships within the pages that absolutely enthralled me.
Above all, Elise Stokes takes great precautions to keep the feel of her universe and language appropriate for any age. It's almost too easy to break those parameters, especially when you have such a binding commitment to making a character with realistic aspects. The dialogue is smooth. I always knew whose voice I read, even when the scenes brought a multitude of players.
Cassidy's ruminations are vibrant and evoke plenty of emotional responses. Trust me.
I'd like to point out or claim that I've read for over thirty-four years. I moved quickly from abridged versions of classics to the real tomes as a kid. I've explored every imaginable gender and found fault and virtue in each work, even my own. Rarely ever have I come across a story that was such a complete and utter joy to read. A story that made me grow along with the characters to the point where I look at them in my mind as my own flesh and bone friends.
From a reader's point of view, Cassidy Jones Adventures is, hands down, the best series I've had the pleasure of absorbing. Whether Elise Stokes meant to or not, she's brought a hero our kids and much of society as a whole, desperately need.
What do I mean by that?
Cassidy finds herself as her own worst enemy when it comes to dealing with those adolescent insecurities that still plague some of us in our adult years. She strives to do the right thing, regardless of her circumstances which could easily change her into a narcissistic egomaniac like the many "stars" out there, who flaunt their empty-shell personalities thanks to whatever power given to them by TV reality shows or movies.
Cassidy may be a fictional character, but I want my daughters to look up to her and emulate her far more than any Kardashian sister or new oversexed starlet singing the latest hip-hop hit.
I'd love for them to find a friend like Emery and not because he's a genius, but because of the way he is: respectful, considerate, confident, attentive, and sincerely affectionate, all the elements that make a good friend a great once-in-a-lifetime friend.
I want them to value each other the way Nate and Chazz value their sister. Even when there's the usual picking on each other as any siblings do, when the situation calls for it, they're there for each other.
As if that weren't enough, the adults in the story bring their own contributions. In the latest, no one more so than the enigmatic Gavin Phillips, who truly inspired me to be a better father and a better husband.
No, my friends, this is NOT just another YA run of the mill story.
From an author's point of view, if you allow me, Elise's heart paints the most vibrant hues on the pages. We write what we know. We write what we've lived and hold dear, and that unnamed quality is what turns a book into a novel. It's what an author truly hopes to accomplish by risking it all and writing from the heart, and I've been fortunate to experience what it's like to breathe life into a fictional someone that makes a reader lose their emotional compass as they connect with that character in ways no one could have imagined.
This blog however, belongs to Cassidy Jones and The Seventh Attendant, the third in a series that inspired this author to write his first blog review.
I invite you to lose yourself in Seattle, to befriend a terrific group of kids. Be entertained, be awed, be inspired.
Creating a character may sound awfully simple, but it's not. An author transforms thousands of words into someone and that someone has got to be able to touch the minds and hearts of an audience. It requires a tremendous commitment to give that character a voice, an emotional makeup, a personality, virtues and flaws, and sooner or later, they LIVE.
Elise Stokes may have become a victim of her own talent, for she appears to have effortlessly brought Cassidy, Emery, Jared, Miriam, and so many others to life, and I am stunned at the way they each grow in their own timeline, their own sentimental maturity. I can't say enough.
This author (yours truly), this reader, father, dreamer, wants more of Cassidy Jones. And should you, my dear friend, delve into the pages of the first in the series, The Secret Formula, you will inevitably move on to Vulcan's Gift, and after you read The Seventh Attendant, you may find yourself right where I was at the time I composed this blog.
You'll grin from ear to ear, perhaps wishing to be a teenager again, perhaps utterly satisfied with a major fiction hangover; perhaps shaking your head in awe recalling every scene. And this is where I leave this blog review, thanking my lucky stars for Elise Stokes and her unparalleled talent and heart.
Javier A. Robayo
visit Amazon and download this series for you and for your young reader: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1/182-1406921-7460667?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=elise+stokes