Author: R.A. McDonald
Publisher: House of Lore
Published: January 1, 2011
Genre: YA, Paranormal
No sickness, No injuries, No pain, No limits. If you had the power to heal, what would you do? For fifteen-year-old Ada discovering that she can heal feels more like a curse than a gift. When she learns of the mystery surrounding her mother's disappearance, and sees the indifference of so-called friends, she sets out for Paris to find her.
The power to heal protects her, but also has her hunted by a man who sees her as nothing more than his fountain of youth. Ada realizes her true power is her will to survive, and that her only chance at freedom is to become the best at escaping.
Ada hasn't grown up in a house with a white picket fence. Instead she was cast off and absorbed into the foster care system, quickly putting up a shield of hostility. Always knowledgeable of the sicknesses of those around her and never getting hurt just seemed like facts of life. Finally on her last strike of trouble, an estranged aunt comes to the rescue, giving Ada the knowledge of how to use her healing power. Now Ada, who up to this point has shunned the world, all of the sudden has the power to heal it.
Ada's lived her entire life in the foster system, knowing she has a gift, but is convinced it's more of a curse than anything else. After pulling her last stunt and being caught, Ada is fifteen and past the age that people and her caseworker can simply overlook her childish rebellion. It's either time for her to stay in a home for kids that can't be placed in stable homes, or she goes to Aunt Jessie, her mother's best friend. The two share similar gifts, but Ada resents hers until her unique ability is brought to light and the extent of her power is revealed. Now her gift is a fight between life and death, and the life hanging in the balance is her own.
I have to say this is a first for me. Healers in YA fiction is a nice, refreshing twist on magic and the paranormal, and it was truly a pleasure to lose myself in a world so vastly different than those I've seen. R.A. McDonald has created a world within Ada - Legend of a Healer that's dark and grim, all the while perfectly merging a delicate balance of human nature, the struggle to find oneself and a trippy world where Ada's gift has more than just the power to heal. With intricate details and clever artwork peppering the pages, Ada - Legend of a Healer was a rich world that one can easily lose themselves within.
I didn't know what to expect from Ada, herself, when I started the book, but I was pleasantly surprised. Despite, or in spite of, her incredible gift, Ada is very much a normal teenager within Ada - Legend of a Healer. She's lived a difficult life outside of her gift, and her gift simply amplifies her struggle. Jessie was also a remarkable character. There were moments that I thought I knew her and loved her, and there were times I wanted to strangle her. Throughout it all though, it was apparent that she was doing the best she could, in her own way, to help Ada. The multiple settings, the search for Ada's mother, and the desperate desire to be someone Ada could come to terms with all made Ada - Legend of a Healer poignant and powerful. The only thing I would have specifically changed in the book was to have fleshed out the climax a bit more. I felt it was a bit rushed.
It's rare that I come across a book that so pleasantly surprises me, especially when the cover isn't my favourite (I'm a cover slut...it's no secret). I give Ada - Legend of a Healer a very strong 4 out of 5, and I'd recommend it to the YA audience, particularly those who enjoy paranormal stories.