Sarah is one of the "poor" kids at the exclusive prep school she attends. Her father lost his money, and with it, any claim she had to social status in the environment where how much money your parents have determine how many friends you have and if the boys want to date you. She admires Dan, the heir to a lucrative technology enterprise from afar (with no hope of him ever noticing her that way), even though he's dating her best friend Jillian. Sarah is biding her time until she can graduate, enjoying her art class the most, out of a love for art and the fact that Dan is also in her class. She also spends her time trying to avoid the disturbing attentions of Frank, a mean-spirited classmate with an unhealthy attraction to her. In short, her life is rather mundane, until things change in a spectacular fashion, and events beyond her comprehension show her that her world is nothing like she believed.
I enjoyed reading The Heir. The writing is smooth and it kept my interest. Sarah is an appealing lead character. I appreciated how the story begins in a very mundane fashion, but with the continued narrative, the reader slowly becomes aware that things are far from what they seem. This links the reader's emotions very tangibly to Sarah's, as we experience things concurrently with her. As tragedy befalls Sarah, I felt so much sympathy for her, as well as unease at the strange developments in her situation and in the relationships she has with pivotal characters around her.
The science fiction angle is well done. However, I think seasoned science fiction readers might find her world-building thin. While I would have liked more complexity and description in the world-building in the later part of the book, the developing plot details perked my interest, and I appreciated the creativity on offer. I also liked the societal concepts she presents in the science fiction aspect of this novel.
While the romance is a strong part of this story, it did feel a bit subdued. The chemistry between Sarah and Dan could have been better developed and touched on earlier in the book, and their changing relationship toward the end of the book would have felt more authentic and believable.
The Heir is a good start to a promising series. Lynne Stringer has crafted a young adult science fiction romance that feels distinct, with a lead character that readers will root for and feel sympathy with in her journey.
Note: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
*Reviewed by guest reviewer, Danielle Hill.
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