Leigh Fallon’s publishing roots are a little different than the average story. She is the first ever author to get published through Inkpop.com, a site by HarperCollins that allows people to post their books online and have others vote for them. Hers made it to one of the top five spots, where you’ve earned the right for an official editor for HC to look at it. And the rest is history!
Said editor was on the fall YA preview panel at BEA back in May, raving about how Carrier of the Mark was unlike any she’d ever read. I grew excited. She then said (and I’m paraphrasing here) that the girl starts a new school and meets a hot, brooding guy. Less excited. However, despite that slight hesitation, that fear of the over-done, the premise of the story and the beautiful Irish landscape captivated me to read Carrier of the Mark. And what I discovered was, yes, a girl moving to Ireland and meeting an awesome guy, but it was so much more.
Megan and her father move to Ireland after he gets a job. New school, yet again; she’s used to traveling because of his work, and she hoped to stay at least a year in the town of Kinsale, to be able to put down some sort of roots. Pretty much off the bat she becomes captivated with Adam DeRis, who goes to school with her and happens to work with her father. As she finds herself around him and his family, strange things start happening, things she can’t explain. She catches his sister playing with a flock of moths. Water parts on either side of the dock Adam walks down, in perfect alignment with him. And maybe Adam is avoiding her questions. Throw in an ancient Celtic goddess, wonderful tension, and you’ve got a great story that feels like fact, even though it’s fiction. That’s the beauty of Ireland, and Fallon takes full advantage of it, weaving a wonderful tale full of magic and adventure.
Though written in the common outline of new girl at school, Carrier had a fresh feel to it. Perhaps it was that Irish mist; perhaps Fallon’s relatable prose. I’m betting it’s both. Though told from inside the head of an American teenage girl, I found Megan’s voice to be enjoyable, more than usual, which was a nice change. I also enjoyed the relationship Fallon created between Megan and her father. “She’s precious to me,” he says to Adam at one point, and the love within the family is strongly evident.
The fantastical elements were so fun and original. The elemental powers based off of an ancient Celtic goddess Danu? Awesome. Stuff I love to read. And the way Fallon wove the larger-than-life expectations and history in with the daily life of a normal, average teen worked brilliantly. I felt for Megan, through her initial confusion as she starts seeing things out of the ordinary, to the end when she faces basically the ultimate choice of love or life.
This book was a pleasure to read. I am really looking forward to the sequel, and to see how Megan deals with the choices she made at the end of Carrier of the Mark. Plus, we can’t forget, hats off to Leigh Fallon, for being the first from Inkpop.com. I salute you.
Carrier of the Mark hit stores on October 4th, 2011.