Jennifer Lynn Barnes wrote Golden when she was only nineteen, but you can’t tell by reading this book. It doesn’t seem like a teenager wrote it (not that all teenagers are bad writers, but most think they’re way better than they actually are), but an experienced author. In the novel, Lissy James’ family moves to California from Oklahoma. Big deal. Lots of people move. Lissy’s move, however, is a little different.

There are two major dramas she has to deal with in her life. One is the typical teen movie sort of high school thing: everyone in her high school is separated into two groups. Goldens are the popular ones, Nons are everyone else. She’s got to understand that and decide which side she falls on.

She may not have much of a choice, though, if her Aura Vision gets in the way of things. In her family, the women have powers to see things differently from most people, and Lissy can see people’s auras. If that’s not freaky enough, her powers are expanding so that she can see more, even the connections between people. Possible, she thinks, the fault of her grandmother.

Every part of this book is great. The characters are interesting (with way more to them than meets the eye, which is nice, not to have everything right at the surface). The plot as well. Perhaps teenagers in an ordinary world with magical powers are becoming rather common in YA literature, but this book is one of the better ones of that type. Anyway, it’s a good thing to write about. Popular, and you can usually get a good story out of it. This author sure did!

In this story, there’s evil. There’s magic. There’s the popular crowd versus the losers. Even a hint of romance. Basically, take elements from lots of popular teen books, put them together, and you have a great book: Golden. Not only is it a fabulous first novel, but it’s written by a brilliant new author. I’m certainly looking forward to reading Jennifer Lynn Barnes’ next book!

Rating: 9/10

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