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St. Martin Griffin
"Fated," the first book in the Soul Seek series, is by Alyson Noel, who will be in Salt Lake City on May 30 for a book signing.

"FATED," by Alyson Noel, St. Martin Griffin, $17.99, 306 pages (f)

"Fated," by New York Times best-selling author Alyson Noel, is the coming-of-age story of Daire Santos. This is Noel's 20th novel and the first in the Soul Seeker series, which is slated to be at least four books long with a new book being released every six months.

As "Fated" begins, Daire is just reaching her 16th birthday. On a day that should be full of cake and well wishes, the visions that Daire has experienced for most of her life take a disturbing turn. In order to try to cure her of the visions, Daire's mother, Jennika, sends Daire to Enchantment, N.M., and the care of a grandmother Daire has never met. While in Enchantment, Daire meets a pair of twin brothers, ones she has seen in her dreams, and discovers that she is fated to be a Seeker, one who can travel between the realms of the living and the dead.

Further, she discovers a plot unraveling in Enchantment which, unrestricted, will cause havoc in both the spirit world and the normal world and may cost Daire the grandmother she's just learning to love and the boy she's sure she's fated to love.

Fans of young adult paranormal romance will find a lot of familiar ground in "Fated" with a young girl coming to terms with powers and a secret history, as well as the almost cliche romantic triangle. However, there are some very unique plot twists, and the balance among romance, plot conflict and family relationships is well managed without a vampire or werewolf in sight.

The magical system is different and well developed, drawing on both Spanish and Native American mythologies to create the Seekers, their enemies, the Lower, Middle and Upperworlds and the souls they fight over.

"Fated" is a fast read and enjoyable, though recommended for older teens as it deals frankly with teenage sexuality, including a few brief scenes of kissing and petting, and the complexity of single parenthood. All of these issues are delicately but honestly approached, the read interesting for both the paranormal plot and the changes in Daire as she chooses the path for her life.

While the plot arc is complete in this book, the hooks for the next are set in place, and there is plenty of interesting material to be explored in future volumes.

If you go ...

What: Alyson Noel book signing

When: Wednesday, May 30, 7 p.m

Where: The King's English, 1511 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City

Web: kingsenglish.com

Jana Brown is a writer, wife and mother. She is an avid reader who resolves one day to find enough shelving for all her books. She blogs at cornabys.wordpress.com. Twitter: Cornabys