Shea is a shy high school girl that hopes to get by without much attention. Her home life with her crazed, New Age-obsessed mother isn’t by any means ideal, so she oftentimes seeks refuge with her beloved grandparents or hangs out with her best friend Ty. But other than that, Shea doesn’t have much of any interaction with others due to her ability to withdraw from being anybody’s focus. However, Quinn is a popular football player that suffers from confusion concerning his identity, and even though they make an unlikely pair, the two of them have to complete a project together concerning Irish heritage. As they discover more and more about changelings and prepare for the project, they also discover that their past biases toward another need not apply any longer.
The truth is that they’re both part of something big. Something that concerns both of them is tying them together, but what will it take to get them to cross the threshold from our world into one that’s full of magic?
While this novel is technically a fantasy, it’s primarily set in the world as we know it with flashes of mysterious moments to unknown characters of a different realm. We don’t dive too deeply into the fantasy element, and because of that, it feels more like a contemporary at times. This is one of its best, most unique qualities; I love how it appeals to both genres and how nature is used to represent something more mystical. It will definitely capture fans of either genre’s attention.
Even so, this debut novel handles both genres in a different way. It’s not every day you run into Irish mythology, at least not in young adult fiction. That in itself adds an interesting new concept for readers. I’ve never read anything about Irish mythology, or changelings, and to be honest, I wasn’t even sure of what a changeling was before reading this. I only read one series about fairies before this (Aprilynne Pike’s Wings) and Crossing the Threshold is much different.
However, I must say that what really made this book as good as it was is the characters. None of them are dull. None. I could relate to Shea in ways that I’ve never been able to relate to any character before. At face value, she’s you’re typical nerdy/shy girl, but there’s so much more than that, and it all creates a vivid picture. She has a strong relationship with her grandmother that reminded me so much of my own grandma and my feelings surrounding her death.
And then there’s Quinn… I definitely have a character crush on him. Just saying. He’s just so nice, and it’s easy to feel sad for him because he’s felt so unloved. But it’s so heart-warming to see how he’s an older brother-like figure to the other kids at the orphanage he lives in, and it’s also heart-warming to see him and Shea interact. They’re such an adorable couple; the sparks of romance are sure to make anyone’s heart flutter! And of course, I was a fan of the snarky dialogue.
Even the secondary characters and their relationships stick out, between Shea’s crazy mom, her flamboyant friend Ty, and everyone in between. They all go through quite a bit of development, which is natural because of all the stuff that goes on in this book. There’s never a dull moment – I mean that in a contemporary sense and a paranormal/fantasy sense too. But it didn’t move too fast either; it wasn’t too rushed.
But like I said, even though the excellent characterization is what really shined, it had a lot of great elements. The plot, the general concept, the writing itself… It’s well worth the read. I definitely feel like fans of YA paranormal books will enjoy this, and of course, covet the next one because there’s one heck of a cliffhanger. Crossing the Threshold is such a solid debut; I can’t wait to see what happens next!