Review: Ashes to Ashes by Valerie Thomas

From tragedy came power. And from mishandled power came mystery.

After moving into a new gated community with her family, Natalie is ready to begin a peaceful year at Emerson High. A year complete with boy troubles, school dances, new friends… everything an average girl could expect.

Then she starts receiving notes warning her not to go to school November first. Notes in her day planner, on a piece of homework, on a homecoming ticket… The more notes she receives the more details she uncovers, and the clearer it becomes: words like peaceful and average are about the worst ones anyone could use to describe the year she’s about to have. Crazy? Maybe. Violent? Definitely. Heart-wrenching, mind-blowing, life-changing?

Well, that remains to be seen. All Natalie knows from the start is that she shouldn’t go to school on November first. And maybe you shouldn’t either.


Song For This Book: Set Fire To The Rain by Adele
Why? This seems to suit the plot twist so well, from a metaphorical standpoint.


I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

I was immediately intrigued by the idea of this books from the moment I read the synopsis. The idea of getting notes about the future in your day planner and on homework sounded fascinating, and I couldn’t wait to dive into it. Maybe it’s a bit silly of an idea, but if I was going to leave myself notes from the future, my planner is probably how I’d do it.

The idea for the story itself is fantastic, and I was definite hooked into this book from the get-go. However, the whole book just felt kind of messy. I don’t really have a better word for it than that. It feels very all over the place, and it was super confusing at times, and the characters were all over the place. So combine a great idea and a messy book, and you end up with something that falls somewhere in the middle of the road.

But let’s break this down further, shall we?

The Good Points of Ashes to Ashes:

The concept behind the whole book is absolutely brilliant. It’s not too difficult to figure out, but I am fully in love with this idea. The build up is kind of awkward at times, but when the big reveal comes at the end, it’s great.

I enjoyed the cast of characters in this book. There are some issues with them that I’ll discuss in the next section, but I liked the variety. Natalie is a pushy, chatty little so-and-so, which was fun for a change from the more laid back main characters we often see. Ben and Zach were fun awkward folks, and Love was fascinating. And the rest are fun too.

The Downsides of Ashes to Ashes:

Why do authors thing it’s okay to use chatspeak in books??? It’s not okay! If you want to say that a character laughed, say that they laughed. Do not say have them say ‘haha’. This drives me crazy.

I had the hardest time keeping track of what period of time it was in the book. Until the end, I honestly thought it only spanned a few weeks, and it turned out to be a whole year. It was hard to find your bearing throughout the story, let alone keep track of what time of year it was.

None of the characters seemed like fourteen year olds. Honestly, I regularly forgot that they were in grade nine. They spoke and acted like adults, not kids. And how was one of them driving at fourteen? And don’t even get me started on this kids being left alone so much by the parents.

The flow was a bit of a disaster throughout this one. It was all over the place, and seemed to go off topic frequently, only to come back around to the point. It made for a confusing, messy plot line, and made it kind of hard to follow at times.

All in all, I do think this book has a ton of potential, but it needs a lot of work before it gets there. The idea is great, and I really enjoyed that aspect of it, but the messiness of the rest of it made it hard for the plot to have the impact it possibly could. If you like paranormal adventures and unexplained mysteries, and don’t mind sifting through some editing issues, you’ll likely enjoy Ashes to Ashes.

Find it on Amazon!

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3 thoughts on “Review: Ashes to Ashes by Valerie Thomas

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