Young Adult Author Eliza Nolan’s debut book, “Phoenix Awakens,” starts with a 17yo girl. MC, Julia Long, is starting her senior year. She dreams of cultish, bloody rituals and the victim in her lifelike dreams is her new classmate, Graham.
Graham admits he was a Phoenix—part of a secret society—but swears he left it behind in Charleston. Julia works with Graham to figure out why she is dreaming about his past. She heals his migraines with a touch and she has superhuman strength that comes and goes. Julia doesn’t know where her powers come from, but there’s no denying that when Graham is near, her abilities kicks into overdrive. But the Society wants Graham back. They need his blood to awaken the magic they seek, and they'll do whatever it takes to get it.
What I loved about this story was the authentic setting. I felt as though I was a teenager again, back in high school, weeding through the trenches of homework and the hierarchy of the student population. Voice of each character from Julia, Graham and Samantha all rang true. Even the supporting characters: Nate, Clara and Dad felt real.
The suspense held my attention all throughout the story. Most of the loose ends are addressed, but some were left open and is a nice segway to the follow-on books.