Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger

Pub Date: October 2, 2012 
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Summary (from Goodreads): In this riveting debut, a telepathic girl must figure out why she is the key to her brand-new world--before the wrong person finds the answer first.

Twelve-year-old Sophie has never quite fit into her life. She's skipped multiple grades and doesn't really connect with the older kids at school, but she's not comfortable with her family, either. And Sophie has a secret--she's a Telepath, someone who can read minds. But the day Sophie meets Fitz, a mysterious (and adorable) boy, she learns she's not alone. He's a Telepath too, and it turns out the reason she has never felt at home is that, well...she isn't. Fitz opens Sophie's eyes to a shocking truth, and almost instantly she is forced to leave behind her family for a new life in a place that is vastly different from what she has ever known.

But Sophie still has secrets, and they're buried deep in her memory for good reason: The answers are dangerous and in high-demand. What is her true identity, and why was she hidden among humans? The truth could mean life or death--and time is running out.

There are so many things that go through my mind when I think of this book. I could go on and on about character development and pacing, but that’s not what the book is all about. Since this is one of the first MGs I’ve read in awhile, I can’t compare it to anything but what I remember of those experiences. But I will do my best to explain why this book is so freaking awesome. 
I had more fun reading Keeper than I have reading a book in awhile. I probably looked like a crazy person when I was reading because I couldn’t stop smiling and giggling and squealing. Although this book does not have magic in it, there are awesome fantasy components like elves and powers. There’s mystery and wonderful adventures. I did not want to put this book down for even a second. 
One of the reasons I adored Keeper so much was because even though Sophie was just a few years younger than most YA protagonists, her experiences were drastically different. She’s still a just girl, and this was so refreshing for me. I read mostly YA, and the protagonists are often struggling with impending adulthood and decisions that shape their lives. In this book, Sophie was experiencing being a teenager for the first time, and was just learning about love and loss and heartbreak. I loved experiencing so many firsts that aren’t always included within the YA genre. 
I fell in love with every character. Each had their own endearing traits. I loved all three potential crushes. And although Keefe and Dex were fabulous boys, my heart belongs to Fitz. He and Sophie just had this connection which intrigues me and draws me to him. Each of the boys were totally different, and that’s what makes me so interested in the romantic developments in the sequel. 
The plot was amazing, it had elements of mystery and fantasy. I was completely thrown by every twist and turn, and it contains an element of surprise that was unpredictable. The pacing was perfect and fast; I found I couldn’t flip the pages quick enough. I really felt an emotional tie to everything about Keeper. I absolutely fell in love with this book. I’d recommend this to fantasy lovers, though it is unfortunate that I haven’t read many in that genre. I’d even dare to say that this book is for fans of Harry Potter and Rick Riordan’s books. Keeper ties together with an epic explosion that settles to reveal five stars. So yeah, if you didn’t catch that, I’m giving this book five stars. I’m so happy to say that this book has opened my eyes to not just one, but two genres I have yet to really explore. Although I’m not sure if anything can really hold a candle to Keeper of the Lost Cities, I am ready to test the waters! Mark your calendars, you do not want to miss Shannon Messenger’s marvelous MG debut!

Rating: 5/5 stars

Note: This is one of the ARCs I brought home from ALA. 

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