The new novel "Created” is the third and final offering in the Watched series written by local author Cindy Hogan.
This successful young adult-oriented trilogy follows the adventures of Christy/Michelle (names change a lot in these books because many of the characters are in witness protection) as she attempts to escape the designs of a radical terrorist group. Along with several of her friends from the first novel, she has been moving around the country trying to have a semblance of normal life despite the attempts on her life.
In this new adventure, Christy takes on the name of Ari and is moved to a secret Belgian castle used to train spies for a mysterious American agency. At first she is not excited about the nature of the move, but when Ari discovers that Reese, the boy she fell for in the first book, is also at the facility, she decides to see how far she can go as a spy.
Ari is surprised when her test scores indicate she is an excellent candidate for a career as a spy. She is encouraged to pursue this path and eventually decides that this is what she wants to do with her life. It doesn’t hurt that Reese has also tested well for this career and makes the same choice for a life path.
Hogan has developed an interesting character in Ari/Christy/Michelle and provides opportunities for her to grow and experience new things. In many ways, Ari is a typical teen, but her special talents open doors for her that lend endless possibilities to life.
If there is a weakness to Hogan’s work, it is in the focus of the main character. Sometimes the story seems to miss the long-term consequences to Ari’s decisions. For instance, though she was raised as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Ari doesn’t seem to make any great effort to maintain contact with her religion. There are a few token moments when she resists temptations (relationships and alcohol) because of her beliefs, but for the most part, her religious devotion seems to have disappeared from her life.
For young people who like adventure mixed with a little romance, this novel will be a nice addition to the library. Adults may find the story somewhat whimsical and light, but it can be an entertaining read for a few quiet hours.
“Created” is an e-book from Smashwords that will be available online as well as in book form. The first book in the series, "Watched" was one of 250 finalists in Amazon's Breakthrough Novel Award contest that year. Hogan currently resides in Salt Lake City, where she teaches school.
If you go ...
What: "Created" book launch
When: Thursday, Oct. 25, 7 p.m.
Where: The King's English, 1511 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City
Mike Whitmer lives in West Valley City and works with young people. He enjoys reading, fishing and playing with grandchildren. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org and he blogs at mtwhitmer.blogspot.com.