FIRST OF ALL
I do NOT like it when stories are split into separate books with cliff hangers in between them, and I avoid reading series books unless each book in the series can stand satisfactorily on its own. I haven't read the whole book, but I understand this book, book 1, ends with a cliff hanger, so I will not be reading it to the end.
As indicated by my "name", I am fussy about grammar. And punctuation, word flow, etc, so my review is seriously influenced by how well the story is constructed technically.
I haven't read the whole thing, only chapter 1 and part of chapter 2. The way Chapter 1 is written, I would have expected it to be labeled "Prologue". Then Chapter 2 would rightfully be Chapter 1.
I think the author has a knack for writing in a catchy style; she understands how to grab your attention and make you want to keep reading. The reader is drawn in and wants to be immersed in the story's world. I immediately wanted to know where the story was going and what was going to happen. This is the biggest positive for this book, because if a story doesn't immediately catch my interest, I generally don't keep reading. The author has a skill or gift for grabbing one's interest. This is excellent.
Okay, I probably said that enough different ways! I'm writing the review because I think the book needs work and I think it's worth putting in the effort to take it to a professional level.
The main reason for only awarding 3 stars is the way the story is constructed, technically. I suspect the author had no editor, or the editor was in a hurry, or the editor is inexperienced...something like that. As I said, I didn't read very far, and what I read had too many mistakes. This creates two problems. One--for me, it's distracting. My brain keeps going into editor mode and pulling my mind away from the story, because I can't help noticing the errors. Two--it sets an example for the young people who are the target audience. They may not yet know correct language usage and may assume--because they're reading a professionally produced book--that everything in it is correct.
What are the errors, you ask? Well, here's a few examples. Now, some of these are not blatant errors but may just be ideas or usages not well thought out.
1. "...second wave of stars in as many weeks fell to the earth." Fell to earth? Meteors fall to earth. Stars do not. At first, one may not be sure if the author means meteors, because people call them "falling stars" all the time. But, upon continuing to read, one realizes we are actually talking about real stars. The stars are disappearing from the sky, so it's the stars that are "falling", or whatever they're doing. Whatever it is, they are not likely falling to earth.
2. "Astronomers could not explain the sudden change in the night sky as more and more stars fade and fall." Sudden change in tense halfway through the sentence. This either needs to say, "Astronomers CAN not explain the sudden change" or "as more and more stars FADED and FELL."
1. "It was Eleanor Heavers that made me...." Authors do this all the time, and it's not strictly an error, but it's better to say "It was Eleanor Heavers WHO made me...", because "that" is a word more for things, not people.
2. "Yet she walked passed, with her perfect hair streaming...." This should be "Yet she walked past...." Passed is the past tense of "pass", as in "I passed the salt."
3. "Walking is a dangerous pass time—for me." Should be "Walking is a dangerous pastime." Although, this could be a cultural difference, as I believe the author may be British and I am not.
4. Capitalization: Does "boa constrictor" really need to be capitalized? How about "library" in the phrase "library thrill"? I would say not.
5. "Coach Rivers face." This needs a possessive apostrophe, because the face belongs to Coach Rivers. So "Coach Rivers' face."
6. "It's not fair you no longer have to do Phys. Ed and I do." If you're going to use periods for abbreviations, then you need to be consistent. Use Phys Ed or Phys. Ed., but don't mix them. Same with P.E. Either after both P. and E. or after neither.
7. "I hated P.E it was the literal bane of my life." This is two complete thoughts: "I hated P.E." and "It was the literal bane of my life." If they're going to be in the same sentence, they need to be separated with a comma and a conjunction (like "because") or with a semi-colon.
8. "No one wanted to start the new school year doing the hallway dash to the girl's lavatory." The lavatory is for the girls, plural. Girl's means one girl. So it needs to say "girls' lavatory".
Okay, that's enough. There were a lot of sentence fragments, as well, however they all seemed to be done to achieve a specific effect each time, and they did fit the flow of the story line beautifully, so I didn't mark them as errors. Since, the writing is targeting young people who are still learning grammar, though, there is a definite risk they will consider it proper under any circumstance to use sentence fragments.
Oh, and, when writing, I recommend using a search function to find all instances of the word "that". Try removing "that" and see if the sentence still works. If so, leave it out. Most writers use the word "that" far too often.
The author definitely has a gift for painting with words. I would really like to see some serious editing applied in order to remove the distracting errors, which--for me--obscure the author's story-telling skill.
AND ONE FINAL NOTE
All this is based, of course, on my personal opinions and understanding of grammar and language usage rules.