Title: Phenomenal Girl 5
Author: A. J. Menden
Copyright: 2008 (Shomi); 305 pgs.
Series: Elite Hands of Justice #1
*** Spoiler-ish ***
Lainey Livingston is finally on her way to getting her dream job: becoming a member of the Elite Hands of Justice, the world’s most famous superhero team. However, the final step in the process is to complete a tour of duty with the legendary Reincarnist, Robert Elliot. Some of the best superheros have washed out from the program while training with him, and Lainey doesn’t want to add her name to that list.
Robert, the long-lived founder of the EHJ, is no longer on the active roster, but he still helps out with criminal investigations and cases that the other superheros should be investigating but don’t because they aren’t high profile enough for them. New members of the EHJ assist him with these cases as part of their internship. He is called the Reincarnist because, when he dies, he comes back as a 20-year-old who looks and sounds different — and doesn’t always remember details of his previous life — but is still basically the same person inside. He’s been around for centuries and there is no guarantee, each time he dies, that he’ll come back at all.
Lainey is attracted to Robert right from the first. Though he’s distant and formal with her, Lainey notices that he has the kindest eyes she’s ever seen. But having a secret crush on your boss only adds more stress to an already stressful situation. Robert has no tact, causing her to get hostile and defensive at times because she misunderstands him. Early on, Lainey’s sure Robert is going to fire her. Joining EHJ and helping to save the world has been her goal since she was a little girl, and if she fails, she doesn’t know what she’ll do. But Lainey needn’t have worried too much. Robert has seen her potential for greatness and wants her to succeed.
Something major and potentially catastrophic is on the horizon; however, Robert and Lainey are having a difficult time making sense of the puzzling clues. Their investigation suffers a serious set back when Robert dies. I don’t consider this a spoiler, though it is the reason I put the warning up — the author wouldn’t have gone through the trouble of creating a character with the ability to be reincarnated if she hadn’t planned on killing him off at least once. However, the how and why are pretty big spoilers — that’s all I’m going to say about it.
Robert’s death hits Lainey doubly hard. It happens not long after she and Robert had finally admitted their feelings to each other. Being orphaned since birth, Lainey never let others into her heart until Robert. And for his part, the inability to retain memories from life to life has made it hard for him to get involved with others. Before he died, Lainey promised him that she’d help the new Robert remember what was between them. But it too much for her. The new Reincarnist — Wesley — is different in many ways (except he’s just as tactless as Robert). Wesley is confused and is depending on her to help him — though he doesn’t remember the promise. With so much grief and stress, their first week together after Robert’s passing does not go well. Eventually Lainey realizes that there are some things that remained the same (other than the lack of tact), but it’s the differences that make her fall in love with Wesley for himself. Robert was reserved and formal, Wesley is more open and relaxed. And for his part, Wesley doesn’t need memories to fall for her — that is, once she stops being hostile toward him for not being Robert.
I really liked this book. I wondered if the author could pull it off — killing the hero — and still make the romance believable. And she did. The death of Robert and aftermath was very emotional. Looking forward to reading Tekgrrl.
Started: 30 June 2009
Finished: 1 July 2009
This is a re-post. Below are the comments that I was able to salvage from the SQL file. See this post for an explanation. I apology for the inconvenience. (Aug 09)
Beth F., 2009-07-26: I haven’t read any of these books. I assume this is the 5th in a series.
Me, 2009-07-26: No, it’s not actually. The “5″ refers to her being the 5th superhero with the same alias/secret identity.
This is the first book by this author and the first in the Elite Hands of Justice series.
This is a re-post, due to data loss. (Oct 09)
17 Aug – Carol – “It loved the relationship in this one. Thanks for linking to my review.”
17 Aug – Me – “You’re welcome! I liked the relationship, too. Thanks for visiting!”