Featured: The Desert Series by Lisette Brodey
It all begins in a dying desert town when the past comes back to haunt the present with storylines that are exciting and captivating.
The Desert Series, a YA paranormal trilogy, takes place over a span of six years in a town called Mystekal in the Southern California desert.
The story unfolds in Book 1, Mystical High, when sudden paranormal activity at Mystekal High and around the town, makes its presence known. The two main characters, Jessie and Jinxsy, high school juniors, are best friends. As each girl struggles with her own family problems, seemingly random and bizarre incidents occur that complicate everything. Eventually, after a string of shocking events expose explosive secrets, the answers to decades-long mysteries are revealed.
Book 2, Desert Star, features River Dalworth, who makes his debut in Mystical High as Jessie’s younger brother. River is brilliant, funny, and a talented artist. Now a senior at Mystekal High, as the book opens, River steps in to defend a new student, Larsen Davis, who is being bullied by two other seniors for being gay. Larsen is grateful to River and confides in him that the biggest bully is the one at home—his mother.
Eventually, Larsen accepts a job with River’s mother, Arielle, who is in charge of renovating The Desert Theater. Larsen soon learns that the theater, abandoned for 40 years, is not without its secrets. Opening night at the Desert Theater sets the stage for a crime, never-imagined reunions, long-awaited explanations, and otherworldly miracles.
In Book 3, Drawn Apart, one of the main characters is Avalon Martelli, a student from Jersey City who was introduced in Desert Star. Avalon’s entire family now lives in Mystekal. Her best friend, whom she met at the beginning of the 11th grade, is Stephanie Lambert. Aside from having a home state in common, each girl possesses a talent for art and the heartbreak of a broken family.
Avalon has the gift of sight, where the future is sometimes revealed in her paintings, while Stephanie’s drawings are all about forever love. As Stephanie, a self-described poetry geek and hopeless romantic, talks about past lives and eternal happiness, Avalon tries to deny she’s in love with her best guy friend, River.
Now seniors, the two friends are only weeks away from graduation when Stephanie is rendered unconscious and unresponsive after a car accident. As she lies comatose in the hospital, Stephanie’s mom and friends pray for a miracle while Avalon, who hears Stephanie telepathically, begs her to wake up so that she can meet her soul mate.
Meet Lisette Brodey:
Lisette was born and raised in the Philadelphia area. She spent ten years in New York City, and now resides in Los Angeles.
She’s a multi-genre author of ten novels and one short story collection: Crooked Moon (General/Literary Fiction); Squalor, New Mexico (Coming-of-Age/Literary Fiction); Molly Hacker Is Too Picky! (Women’s Fiction/romantic comedy), The Desert Series: Mystical High; Desert Star; and Drawn Apart (YA paranormal/magical realism), Barrie Hill Reunion (Literary Fiction); Hotel Obscure: A Collection of Short Stories (Literary Fiction), Love, Look Away (Women’s Fiction/romantic comedy), The Sum of our Sorrows (Contemporary Fiction/Coming-of-Age), and The Waiting House: A Novel in Stories (Literary Fiction.)
In addition to her nine novels and one short story collection, two more of Lisette’s short stories are published in an anthology: Triptychs (Book 3, The Mind’s Eye Series.)
Review for Mystical High:
This young adult paranormal story is so cleverly crafted that the twists and turns kept me riveted until the end! Mystical High’s appeal is also for young-at-heart adult readers like me. The plot is chockablock full of subterfuge within scenes that hooked me, kept me guessing even as they offered up tidbits to explain the mystery underlying a slew of unexplained ghostly activities. The absolute truth to explain the phenomena eluded me until the end – and I so enjoyed the chase!
The storyline is exciting and captivating, spiced with just enough quirky to lighten the intensity. Skillfully woven into the story are themes relevant to not only teens, but also to parents and teachers alike. We see characters as they develop coping skills to handle bullying, to set dating and friendship boundaries, and to foster better parental communication.
I was fascinated by the author’s scripting of a principal who is belittling and toxic juxtaposed against a teacher that nourishes the best in students. The scenes that depict the principal’s comeuppance are electrifying.
Review for Desert Star:
Though I’m many years past the young-adult age, the complexity, intrigue, and cleverness in this paranormal story made my read a thrilling one. Once again, Ms. Brodey’s dialogues are brilliant–I fell a little bit in love with River, his ever-present wisdom and banter.
The synopsis told me that this novel would be about bullying – and it is – but there is so much more to the story. As I became more intimately engaged with the characters in DESERT STAR, I realized there was another theme enriching my read: transformation.
Even those characters who are only peripherally involved in the renovation of an abandoned theater end up experiencing an affirmation of their personhood, a rebuilding of self-confidence.
There are quite a few side stories in this novel, ones that feature characters in various complicated circumstances.
I loved how the intimacy of their interactions fostered each other’s personal transformations, and how each story ended up supporting the main plot.
Review for Drawn Apart:
DRAWN APART is an exceptional love story for young adults. More than that, however, its themes are relevant ones. They contain perspectives for people of all ages: parental abandonment and disregard, bullying/jealousy, dating relationships, friendships, parental regard for teenagers and their emerging maturity, and coping with tragedy. I read this book more quickly than I intended, caught up in the web of mystery that revolved around a young woman in a coma.
Avalon is no ordinary artist. Her gift is to paint pictures of events before they happen; some of them portray potentially bad consequences. When her best friend, Stephanie, ends up in a coma after a tragic accident, Avalon blames herself and asks the universe to take this gift away. What happened as a result of her request still astounds me.
Brodey is masterful in weaving a fascinating web of otherworldly intrigue regarding her characters and their gifts. Although I expected to feel the sadness of friends and family because of Stephanie’s coma, other emotions were at play within me as I read.
The author’s infusion of a tone of love and grace in these scenes was a special experience.
Please click HERE to find the Desert Series of Lisette Brodey on Amazon.