Brought by OBS staff member Katlyn

Sixteen-year old Cassie Renfield has seen the mark since forever: a glow around certain people as if a candle were held behind their back.

The one time she pointed it out taught her not to do it again, so Cassie has kept quiet, considering its rare appearances odd, but insignificant. Until the day she watches a man die. Mining her memories, Cassie realizes she can see a person’s imminent death. Not how or where, only when: today.

Cassie searches her past, her philosophy lessons, even her new boyfriend for answers, always careful to hide her secret. How does the mark work? Why her?

Most importantly, if you know today is someone’s last, should you tell?

‘The Mark’ was truly an invigorating novel about making choices when faced with a seemingly impossible situation. Cassie Renfield already lost both her parents long ago and was living with her grandmother. She was born with a terrifying gift of seeing a glow (‘The Mark’) around people before they die. She was faced with the choice many times on whether to tell them or not. Would you?

I was absorbed in this book from the first page. This idea of seeing The Mark was so interesting and I could not wait to see where it lead our protagonist. All she wanted to do was have a normal teenage existence that would never be a choice for her because of this curse. She was burdened by her gift and the only person who believed her was about to become exposed to her terrifying world as well. Without giving too many spoilers, Cassie spent the summer away from her home and tried to start anew when she found a young man that understood her grown-up intellect. But when he was exposed to her secret the views of both of them related to each other changed drastically.

This novel took me to places I never expected and I was glad for it. Since I read so much I can usually tell the ending before halfway through but not in this case. There were many new directions the book pulled me in from chapter to chapter, I just went along for the ride and stopped trying to guess. By the end of the book I felt like Cassie aged about ten years with all the growing up she did over one summer. She was thrust into adult life by making very hard decisions and accepting those decisions that were made for her. This was a great character-development story that will stick in my mind for a long time.

I really enjoyed the characters in this story and how real they were. With Luke and Cassie it was a perfect relationship until her gift was exposed and she had to deal with her philosophical-obsessed boyfriend. Although he may have treated her different, he forced her to explore her gift and it took her places she might not have had the courage to explore before.

I was interested in the reaction of those that Cassie told about seeing The Mark and how they did or did not change their fate based on the knowledge. This was one of the toughest things to think about when the book was finished. There are two choices to make, to tell, or not to tell, but each yields many consequences. Then there is one theory that if you save someone’s life, does another person take their place in death? Cassie had to battle her conscious every time she saw The Mark, but neither choice she made could ever be the right one.

I higly recommend this thought-provoking novel and I guarantee that the story will linger in your mind long after the last word is read.