Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Pretty Fierce

Pretty Fierce

Kieran Scott
Fiction
For ages 13 and up
Sourcebooks Fire, 2017   ISBN: 978-1492637981

Kaia has not had what could be called a traditional upbringing. At one time her parents were CIA operatives who carried out state sanctioned assassinations, and then they became freelance hired assassins. Kaia traveled with her parents around the world, was homeschooled by them, and until eighteen months ago her parents were able to keep their violent professional lives separate from their personal ones. Then, in Oaxaca, Mexico everything went horribly wrong. For some reason Kaia’s father sent his wife a text message saying “Run,” but unfortunately she and Kaia were attacked before they had time to react to the message. Kaia’s mother was shot and badly injured and then the shooters came on the scene and knocked out Kaia. When she came to she was alone and had no choice but to call some friends of her parents, Henry and Bess, to ask for help.

For eighteen months Kaia has been living in South Carolina with Henry and Bess, going to school, and living a ‘normal’ life. Not long after starting school, Kaia met and fell in love with Oliver. With his help she has started to rebuild her life and is beginning to adjust to being an orphan. Then one day Kaia comes home from school and she is knocked out and then tied up. When she comes to she is tied to a chair and some thug is demanding to know where her mother is. Kaia explains that her mother is dead, but the thug insists that she is not. Furthermore he tells her that “others” are coming for Kaia. Unfortunately for him that thug underestimates Kaia and she manages to free herself. In seconds the tables are turned and the thug is on the floor and Kaia is standing over him pointing a shotgun at him. Which is when Oliver walks in.

Oliver has no idea that Kaia is the daughter of hired killers. Not surprisingly, she chose to keep that part of her life a secret, so he is extremely shocked when he walks into her house only to see her pointing a gun at some strange man. He has no idea what is going on but when she says run, he obeys. The teenagers jump into Henry’s truck and drive away as fast as they can. When a black SUV pursues them and Kaia drives like a crazy person Oliver just sits there and hopes that they won’t die.

Kaia manages to get rid of their pursuers and they drive to an old house in the woods near the Tennessee border. The house is one of the many safe houses that Kaia’s parents set up around the country and she is able to stock up on money, get a handgun and ammunition, and food. Kaia quickly tells Oliver who her parents were. She has no idea who the thug who attacked her was but she has his bag and so she finds out from his passport that he is German. She also finds a piece of paper in the bag with eight sets of coordinates written on it.

For Kaia, being on the run is certainly traumatic, but she is not leaving much behind. Oliver is. He is missing the opportunity to be seen by scouts from colleges, and he is also walking out on Trevor, his foster brother, who depends on him. Oliver is an orphan and lives with a foster mother called Robin. Robin is a decent woman except for the fact that she allows her vicious and drunken husband Jack to use Trevor and Oliver as punching bags. Leaving Trevor behind hurts Oliver. Who will protect the vulnerable ten year old from Jack if he is not there? On the other hand Oliver is attracted to the idea of running away with Kaia and building a new life with her.

The thing is that Kaia is being hunted by more than one person and the young people have no idea who most of the hunters are and what they want. One of them is known to Kaia. He was the man who shot Kaia’s mom back in Mexico. As they flee across the country from one safe house to another, Kaia begins to wonder if her mother is really dead. Is it possible that she is still alive and that all these hunters are hoping to use Kaia to force her mother to come out into the open.

In this exciting thriller the alternating narratives of Kaia and Oliver take us on an extraordinary journey of discovery that is full of danger and unknowns. We are witnesses as Oliver tries to come to terms with Kaia’s bizarre life story, and as Kaia comes to learn Oliver’s secrets as well. Readers who like thrillers will thoroughly enjoy this unique story.

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