I am a big fan of Kate Bloomfield. 
I first read her Fire Mage Trilogy, and absolutely adored it.
Anyone that is brave enough to put themselves out there as an independent, self-published author, with a fantastic fantasy story, no less, deserves serious praise. On top of being an imaginative author, Kate is also a graphic designer, and creates the gorgeous covers for all of her novels herself (with a little help from fantabulous Photoshop, and pre-made images, of course - but still - I can't do that. Can you?)! 
Alpha Girl is Kate's fifth novel (quick blurb of previous novels: Passing as Elias, Frost Arch, Flamethroat, & Falling Ashes). The Fire Mage Trilogy (all the novels that begin with "F" in the above list) is set in a richly imagined fantasy world. Passing as Elias is set in 18th century England. Alpha Girl is set in our modern times. I like that the same author can effectively write stories in all three settings.

Anyhoo, enough gushing about Kate and her other novels - on to the review! ;)

Alpha Girl, unlike Kate's previous Fire Mage Trilogy, is not a Young Adult novel. It is more of a coming-of-age story. It has adult themes, such as a controversial relationship between a nearly-18-year-old girl and her 32-year-old teacher, as well as cursing and sex. I knew all of this going in. I was given a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for my honest review, and the author made the content of the book very clear in her email to me. There is also a blurb about it in the opening pages of the novel, which would appear in the downloaded eBook sample, if one tried that. 

Rose Goldman is just a few months shy of her eighteenth birthday. She is wildly unpopular in her tiny town of Halfway. She was mauled and scarred by a wild animal as a child, and now, hiding her resulting "sickness" from the world doesn't help her win many friends. In fact, the other kids at her school frequently mock her for smelling like a wet dog, though she tries her hardest to make sure she never does.
Enter a handsome new teacher, Mr. Stone, whom Rose seems inexplicably drawn to. She knows it's socially unacceptable to "befriend" a teacher, but she can't seem to stay away, and he seems attracted to her as well. She wonders if it's just her lovesick, infatuated mind playing tricks on her, but he eventually admits he has feelings for her as well, though he is deeply conflicted. 
I felt that the author handled this situation with some tact, since Mr. Stone makes it clear several times that he will not have anything to do with her, because of teacher-student ethics. Something seemingly beyond their control, though, keeps bringing them together.  Everywhere they go, the other one seems to turn up as well. Pretty soon, it doesn't seem fair to ignore their growing attraction any longer. 

{Aside: I felt that Rose was every bit an angsty teenager. Her insecurities and intense jealousy definitely peg her as a teen emotionally, though she feels (like all seventeen-year-olds do) that she is very much an 'adult.' Though her parents have taken care of her and her "condition" for years, albeit that they have been somewhat inattentive at other times, I felt that they were treated unfairly by Rose. During the entire book, she downplays their role in her life, and it almost felt that it was just an excuse to not have them be a roadblock in her adult life for the rest of the series. 
Now, I'm not knocking her for being said angsty teenager. That is her role in the book. This is a YA novel. I'm just saying that, as a parent, those things slightly annoyed me. ;) }

Enter skeevy outcasts that were some of Rose's only 'friends', her absentee parents who butt in at the most inopportune time, and fairytale lore that one hopes can not be true in this universe, and you've got the beginning of one promising paranormal fantasy adventure. 

I can't wait to read book 2.

Once again - LOVE Kate Bloomfield. I did, however, feel like Alpha Girl might have been a little rushed. Some of the sentences felt disjointed, and there were a few words that were spelled correctly, but were the wrong version of the word (these were few and far between). That said, I overlooked them, and enjoyed the book. :)


Publication Date: March 25th, 2013

OVERALL 4 OUT OF 5 STARS:
Content-4
Writing-4
Editing-4
eBook Layout/Formatting (on Kindle Fire)-5
Overall Enjoyability-4

Do I recommend it? Yes
Would I read it again? Yes, I'll read it again when book #2 in the Wolflings series comes out Sept 1, 2013. 

To easily find all of Kate's books listed here, Check 'Em Out on Amazon!


 


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