This book is amazing! You guys really have no idea how much I loved it! There's action, adventure, mystery, comedy, and just that little bit of romance that keeps things interesting without completely overwhelming the story. You've got to read it!
Gypsy by Trisha Leigh
Inconsequential: not important or significant.
Synonyms: insignificant, unimportant, nonessential, irrelevant
In the world of genetic mutation, Gypsy’s talent of knowing a person’s age of death is considered a failure. Her peers, the other Cavies, have powers that range from curdling a blood still in the vein to being able to overhear a conversation taking place three miles away, but when they’re taken from the sanctuary where they grew up and forced into the real world, Gypsy, with her all-but-invisible gift, is the one with the advantage.
The only one who’s safe, if the world finds out what they can do.
When the Cavies are attacked and inoculated with an unidentified virus, that illusion is shattered. Whatever was attached to the virus causes their abilities to change. Grow. In some cases, to escape their control.
Gypsy dreamed of normal high school, normal friends, a normal life, for years. Instead, the Cavies are sucked under a sea of government intrigue, weaponized genetic mutation, and crushing secrets that will reframe everything they’ve ever been told about how their "talents" came to be in the first place.
When they find out one of their own has been appropriated by the government, mistreated and forced to run dangerous missions, their desire for information becomes a pressing need. With only a series of guesses about their origins, the path to the truth becomes quickly littered with friends, enemies, and in the end, the Cavies ability to trust anyone at all.
Trisha Leigh is a product of the Midwest, which means it’s pop, not soda, garage sales, not tag sales, and you guys as opposed to y’all. Most of the time. She’s been writing seriously for five years now, and has published 4 young adult novels and 4 new adult novels (under her pen name Lyla Payne). Her favorite things, in no particular order, include: reading, Game of Thrones, Hershey’s kisses, reading, her dogs (Yoda and Jilly), summer, movies, reading, Jude Law, coffee, and rewatching WB series from the 90’s-00’s.
Her family is made up of farmers and/or almost rock stars from Iowa, people who numerous, loud, full of love, and the kind of people that make the world better. Trisha tries her best to honor them, and the lessons they’ve taught, through characters and stories—made up, of course, but true enough in their way.
Trisha is the author of THE LAST YEAR series and the WHITMAN UNIVERSITY books. She’s represented by Kathleen Rushall at Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.
“Like, one true loves? Not really.” I'd never thought much about it, honestly. The future of a Cavy isn't a concrete thing; it's not a given. Haint, who'd been born with the kind of suspicion the rest of us had to work at, thought maybe the Philosopher and his staff would get rid of us one day, either by accident with their tests, or on purpose when we became a liability. Or they'd decide to sell us. The useful ones, at least.
“Not just with romance. I believe in all kinds. Like, people who are supposed to meet will meet, and it's all predetermined whether they'll be enemies, or hardly notice each other, if they'll be friends. Whether friendships last until they die or just long enough to accomplish something specific.”
“Hmm.” It's hard to keep up, but her patter is interesting. Maya's not boring, that’s for sure. “And which kind are we?”
“Friends, definitely. Too soon to say how long it'll last, I suppose. Que sera sera and all— Hey, what the hell?” Maya nearly slams into a man, older than the two of us by at least ten years, maybe more.
He smells like urine and sweat, like someone who hasn't seen the inside of a shower in more than a few days. His black hair sticks out from his head in tufts and his skin is a few shades too dark for winter—like a patchy, permanent tan. Maya and I recoil in tandem, falling over each other in our scramble to move away, to turn the corner, to escape. It's pure luck I don't wind up seeing her number, too. The alley we turn down is barren, nothing but crunchy brown leaves tripping across the asphalt and into the grass.
“Are you Norah Jane Crespo?”
The sound of my name, rasped in an unfamiliar, demanding voice, halts my progress. Despite Maya's hissed protest I stop, looking at the man following us. Maybe I know him, or my father sent him to check on me or something, because literally no one knows my whole name except my dad, the school, and the cops.
My pause, my squint, is all the confirmation he needs. All the time he needs, too.
A needle glints in his left hand as it slices down, jabbing me in the base of my neck.
I shriek when it plunges into my flesh, more from the surprise than the pain, although the needle isn't small. Being injected isn't weird for me, but it's been a long time since anyone did it without warning.
Through the haze of shock, I see Maya swing her backpack at my assailant, but he's not sticking around to get clobbered. He's halfway down the alley before she gets out her first curse word, and when he disappears she squats next to me, reaching out a hand.
I recoil, keeping my fingers pressed on the affected area, and she drops her arm.
“My heavenly days, are you okay?” She pants, her face pale white with bright-red dots on the apples of her cheeks, making her look more like a doll than ever. “Who was that guy?”
“I have no idea.” My legs shake, my heart pounds, and bitter bile coats the back of my tongue. Every throb in my chest pushes the contents of the needle, unknown and foreboding, deeper into my bloodstream.
“Sweet fancy Moses I'm gonna pass out.” Despite her words, Maya's bright eyes snap with intelligence as she recovers from the shock and starts to analyze. “He knew your name. What was that all about?”
“I don't know.” I don't—never seen him before in my life—but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that this kind of thing doesn't happen to your normal, average, everyday high school junior. It has to have something to do with Darley, with the Cavies.
And as much as it kills me to say this, Nightcrawler, Kitty, Professor X, and my dear, sweet Beasty boy, you just got your supernatural behinds handed to you by a bunch of teenagers from South Carolina by the names of Gypsy, Mole, Haint, Flicker, Reaper, Goose, Athena, Pollyanna, Prism, and Geoff (aka Vegetable).
Now I know what you're thinking. Did I really just say that? Did I really just say that the Cavies from Trisha Leigh's Gypsy were actually BETTER than the X-Men?
Well, yes and no, but I'd definitely say that they have the possibility of reaching deeper into my heart than the X-Men. Keep in mind, this is just the first book in The Cavy Files, while X-Men was created OVER FIFTY YEARS AGO. Now, I'm not anywhere near saying that The Cavy Files are newer, therefore they must be better, but what I am trying to say is that this is just my first introduction to the Cavies. The X-Men have had my entire life to get me to fall in love with them (which they've done wonderfully), but first impression vs. first impression, I'd definitely say that Gypsy wins out.
I loved this book from the very beginning. Trisha Leigh's writing style is completely perfect, with that nice, contemporary feel to it, quick-flowing dialogue, and subtle moments of complete beauty in her writing. Oh, those gorgeous extended metaphors! I'm tingly all over just thinking about them.
Then there's the characters. Don't even get me STARTED on those characters! It was so easy to fall in love with them, even the ones I never even met during the novel (which is upsetting, but I can see how it was necessary for at least the first book).
I REALLY liked Gypsy, which is strange for me because after a while, the main character usually starts to piss me off. Except for maybe once, Gypsy didn't have a problem with that. She's intelligent, perceptive, humble, kind, and very reflective, which to me sounds like the foundation for a perfect narrator. And to make it even better, she's not consumed by the love interest(s). The fact that I even have to put that "s" in parentheses is pretty awesome.
Don't get me wrong, I love me a good romance, and when it never happens, it does always seem to be the one thing I'm waiting for, but I do NOT think it should be so prominent that I completely forget what the plot of the book is. And the thing that upsets me more than pretty much anything else in a book is when the main character forgets that too. Romance ADDS to a story, but unless I know going in that the genre of this book is specifically romantic something or another, I do not want it to be the single most prominent thing that I'm reading about.
Gypsy's very good at keeping all of this in perspective. The biggest Heck yeah! moment I had in this book was when she said that she absolutely could not get involved with this person because there were too many reasons why it was a bad idea. This was at the time after the Cavies found out about the "one of their own" who had been held captive by the government and after her gift revealed some very crucial information about that specific suitor. Some heroines would go into a ten page long lament about how much she loves him and how their feelings for each other are just so strong that she simply can't hold back anymore, but Gypsy doesn't. She's got it together and still realizes that all of the reasons why not are still completely valid and that she has much more important things to worry about (such as, you know, two very shady groups of individuals trying to potentially destroy her family) than whether or not a boy likes her.
Then again, there is one exception: Mole. Throughout the entire book, I felt like I was clawing my way through the pages, searching for more Mole, and then latching on like a rabid dog as soon as I found him. I ADORE Mole. He was one of the reasons I decided to read this book. A quote from him opens the novel, and he was such a bright and shining star that I knew I couldn't go on without him. He's a completely perfect character, and I wanted so much more of him. Let me show you why.
Then there's Gypsy's memories of young Mole, "his little boy face twisted into a determined frown as he tried to convince us all we were witches and wizards," that made me feel like my heart was beating out of my chest. And then that one moment towards the end when he realizes that Gypsy's crying and he tries to brush the tears away, even though touching her would mean that they would know when he dies. But he tries to anyway because as he simply puts it, "You're sad, and I want to help."
The only negative I have about Mole's entire presence in this book is that there isn't nearly enough of him, but I can say that about all of the Cavies. I want so much more of each and every one of them, and it's KILLING me that I can find very little information about the sequel. ESPECIALLY because of that killer cliffhanger. The events right at the end with Haint's realization sped up my heart rate to almost dangerous levels, and I'm pretty sure it flat-lined when I looked down and saw that it was the last page. I am DYING right now. I need more Cavy Files!
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