"Dana Hathaway doesn't know it yet, but she's in big trouble. When her alcoholic mom shows up at her voice recital drunk, again, Dana decides she’s had enough and runs away to find her mysterious father in Avalon: the only place on Earth where the regular, everyday world and the captivating, magical world of Faerie intersect. But from the moment Dana sets foot in Avalon, everything goes wrong, for it turns out she isn't just an ordinary teenage girl—she's a Faeriewalker, a rare individual who can travel between both worlds, and the only person who can bring magic into the human world and technology into Faerie.
Glimmerglass is the first book in Jenna's new young adult Faeriewalker series and I loved it!! Beginning to end I found the book almost impossible to put down. Dana is used to being the adult, taking care of herself, taking care of her drunk mother, making sure the bills get paid on time etc, but she's sick of it. Sick of constantly moving, of never being able to get close to anyone, of trying to hide her mom's alcohol dependence. She thought finding her father, running away to him in Avalon, a world in England where Faerie and the mortal worlds co-exist, would be the end of her problems, a chance to start over without being the one making all the decisions. But from the moment she touches down at London Heathrow, things start going wrong and it doesn't take long for Dana to find herself way out of her depth and more isolated than ever.
Soon, Dana finds herself tangled up in a cutthroat game of Fae politics. Someone's trying to kill her, and everyone seems to want something from her, from her newfound friends and family to Ethan, the hot Fae guy Dana figures she’ll never have a chance with… until she does. Caught between two worlds, Dana isn’t sure where she’ll ever fit in and who can be trusted, not to mention if her world will ever be normal again…"
For all her maturity and experience playing the adult, Dana is only 16 and is very naive and inexperienced when it comes to boys, and friendships as well though to a slightly lesser extent. It's something she's very aware of and I think it makes her more realistic somehow. Her awkwardness with the Ethan, who is very used to girls falling all over him, is cute and understandable, and helps to make her even more likable. I also really like how she wants to be the kid, wants to be taken care of for a change. Responsibility sucks, and she knows it. But it doesn't stop her doing what she feels is the right thing when things get messy. She has to cope with a lot throughout this book and while sometimes it got to her, there are times she really rises to the occasion as well. There is one particular moment (I'm not saying details for spoilers sake) where something happens, and her reaction to it made me so freakin proud of her while I was also aching for her because it was not a nice thing that happened. I don't think I've felt quite so seriously proud of a fictional character before. I found Dana very easy to relate to, I was rooting for her the whole way and really felt for her as she tried to figure out how to survive in this new world.
The action started early on and never really let up. Avalon is shrouded in mystery and we're never given much detail of the world, how it works, the characters or their motives at once. Instead we discover little bits here and there as the story winds on, but you can't ever be too sure about much. It makes for a very intriguing story and I was just wishing for more the whole way through. I love the mysterious nature of everything in this book. But while we don't always get a lot on the side characters, every glimpse in to them we do get, is a tantalizing one, showing the possibilities for so much. I thought pretty much all the side characters were very well drawn, with their motives hidden but glimpses given to show they're more than placements for the plot. My favourites have to be Kimber, Finn and Keane, and Keane is the one who I desperately want more of in the next book. The plot moves along quickly with a lot of twists and turns, some you can see coming but the quality of the trip there meant I didn't care in the least. There was no cliff hanger ending, but even so I finished the book and was hungry for more. More of Dana, the characters and the world they exist in.
I really did completely fall for this book, the world, the characters, the writing. It's one of those fantastic YA books where the teens sound like teens, but also show the maturity they can posses, even though they still screw up. The kind of YA books I think can easily appeal to adults and teens alike. There are some teen books where there is almost the sense of the teens being made to sound younger than they are, and that doesn't happen here. Here, like in Vampire Academy (Richelle Mead), Strange Angels (Lili St Crow), it's almost the sense of untold respect for teens from the author. It's something I don't feel too often, but it's here, and it makes the book that much better. It's a gripping and intense journey with Dana, and one I thoroughly enjoyed. I can't wait for book 2, Shadowspell, next year. If you're a fan of YA and/or UF books, this one should be a must read!