Everwild (Skinjacker Trilogy)

Everwild - Neal Shusterman Everwild was exhilarating. I enjoyed Everlost, but I loved Everwild. *Slight Spoilers*Mary was deliciously evil! Even more so because she truly believed that what she was doing was the right thing. There were moments when I thought there was no way that sanctimonious Mary would condone an action, but then I would be shocked when she not only condoned it but she would advocate it. She's probably the creepiest villain that I've ever had the pleasure of reading before. What Mary did to Nick, knowing what a new name would mean in Everlost makes me hate her more then anything else she did. Despite how much she claimed to love him, she purposely condemned him.Nick's fate crushed me. I just wanted him to find himself. Reading about Nick left me a bit nauseous, definitely sad, but still filled with so much love for him. I kept praying Allie would get there in time to save him from his curse. I just knew that if she could find him, he would be redeemed.Allie and Mikey, it's rare that I love a fictional pair like this. Shusterman is one of those special male authors who knows how to write a pair of soulmates so perfectly. "The kiss was the definition of perfect. True, it lacked the heat, the passion, the breathlessness of the living-world kiss she had given Milos, but this had something greater. More than a flash of fire, it had an unbreakable, perhaps eternal bond of connection. Mikey had transformed back into himself by the end of the kiss, and the moment their lips parted he knew, as he should have known long, long ago, that no one - not Milos, not another Afterlight, not anyone in any world - could ever come between him and Allie, from now until the day they met their maker." Well damn, if that doesn't just say it all then nothing will! Perfection.I love how Shusterman makes us like characters at first and then flips it around as they change sides. Milos is the perfect example, (Mary was, also). I really liked Milos. No, I did not want him to come between Allie and Mikey, but I was rooting for him to be on the good team. That's all I should say about that.I want to say that the best part of this book were the characters, because each and every single one is complex and unique, but the truth is that even the story itself is fresh and surprising. The imagination that Neal Shusterman has is enviable. I'm not sure that I could have created the Chocolate Ogre, taking something like chocolate and twisting it into something that would gross the reader out. I've never read anything like this, and if this is a taste of what Shusterman's books are like then he's definitely got another die hard fan!