Explanation of rating
THIS IS A REVIEW OF AN *ADVANCE* COPY! IT IS *SPOILER FREE*
 Linda Gerber quotes part of my review on her blogspot! [/edit]
Summary: Several months after being in a horrible car accident, which resulted in the death of her mother, Ashlyn is trying to get back to normal. The only problem [okay, one of the problems] is that she was never "normal" to begin with. Her sister Kyra and she have always had visions - flashes of the future that never made complete sense until the things they saw came to pass. When they have these visions, they blackout and go into a trance and their hands write down confusing numbers and equations. Together the sisters had always tried to complete each of their visions (Ashlyn would only get certain parts of a vision, while Kyra got certain other bits). What they see is never good.
The back story slowly fills in as Ashlyn goes through her current life and grieves the loss she feels she could have prevented. She thinks back to the accident, memories growing up with the trances, and how she and Kyra learned early on to keep the truth a secret or risk sociel alienation and fear.
Kyra has recently moved out and cut all contact with her sister, and their father isolates himself in his office and on business trips. Ashlyn feels completely alone despite her efforts to connect with her father and find her sister. She struggles with allowing people to understand what is really happening inside her head. She hides the truth from her best friend and literally runs away when Jake, a sweet boy with a passion for music and his crappy motorcycle, tries to get close with her. He keeps a persistant and [mostly] patient watch over Ashlyn, wanting to help but also having his own past.
As the story progresses, Ashlyn tries to grab a handle on her trances and to understand the numbers she writes down. Her pregnant, snappy co-worker, Gina, gives some numerology insight that just might help Ashlyn prevent the next terrible event that keeps repeating in her trances. She feels real hope for the first time in ages that she might actually have some power in her life.
With the small pieces coming together, all Ashlyn needs to do is be at the right place at the right time and find the right person and stop a scarily similar tragedy she should have prevented months before. The story shows just how the universe can work in mysterious ways and still give the answers and the people a person needs to keep going.
"Never use limitations as an excuse for mediocrity."
Opinion: I honestly don't know the best words to describe this book! I am in complete awe right now. I finished reading this in less than a day. I couldn't put it down. I read while I ate. I read while I got my lunch ready for work the next day. The only break I took was to watch the MTV Movie Awards preview of Harry Potter [nothing is more important than Harry Potter. Sorry, Ms. Gerber]. And now I am still digesting the intensity that is Trance.
The writing keeps the reader in constant suspense from the very first page. The fluid way in which Gerber inserts memories to fill in Ashlyn's earlier life gives answers at just the right moments without allowing the reader to completely predict everything. The characters are automatically likable [Jake? So cute!] and the more drama that occurs the more you want to hold your breath until things work out for them all [basically I was light-headed from not breathing much].
The story is in constant motion because everything Ashlyn does is affected by her trances and her reactions to them, or even to the mere possibility of them. Gerber sprinkles in aspects of school, the characters' hobbies/passions, and creepy neighbors in perfect measurement to remind the reader that these people have entire lives that aren't even touched upon in this one plot - that there is so much more to this world. It makes the book something more, giving tiny insights for each character. And all that extra information is kept mostly out of reach, especially at the end. A lot of writers seem to find it difficult balancing the background world with the focused story, but Gerber definitely doesn't have a problem.
It's a heart-racing, breath-taking, unstoppable read that leaves you in your own trance with this book in your hands. [how's that for a blurb? lol]
And that ending? I obviously can't describe it without spoilers... but.... Ugh. Just get this book when it comes out in October. Sooner, if you're able to.
For School? (Hey, I'm a teacher, I think about this stuff!) Unless it is for a writing course (for suspense/not-giving-every-piece-of-information-right-away writing), I don't see it being studied in-depth. This is purely for entertainment, something that I would absolutely recommend to any of my students - especially because it isn't too "girly," as some of my kids would say.