Review: Passages by Kelli Owen

Passages picks up right where Wilted Lilies left off; Lily May is being driven far from home, to Pennsylvania, where she will attend a school for children like her.

Other kids who have powers.

Lily soon discovers that not all of the residents of McMillan Hall have the same abilities she does, and not all of them are alive, either.

As Lily gets to know her classmates and her environment, mysteries new and old surface. A student goes missing. Another one dies. And Lily’s ghost friend, Tommy, tells them there are secret passageways in the walls where someone has been eating and sleeping.

Passages shows readers the world through Lily’s eyes, as she’s discovering it. In Wilted Lilies we were not in her POV, which means that this work gives us a chance to know her better and understand her thinking. We also start to get a sense of her fears, and the things in McMillan Hall that even scare Tommy.

The genius of this story is that it builds to a shocking resolution. The details and events are layered in, setting the stage and building the tension. There’s a growing sense of dread as you turn the pages, because you know something bad is coming, but you don’t know what. Approaching the story this way strengthens the connection to Lily as our protagonist, because we have the same sense of shock with each surprise discovery.

While this series may be classified as psychic thriller or ghost thriller, it should be noted that it follows a teenager and has strong YA appeal. It’s a mix of YA, psychic/ghost thriller and horror, with a bit of mystery splashed in for good measure. This is a series that should have wide appeal to a large audience. Come for more of Lily May, stay to explore the world she finds herself in and a stunning array of abilities that pose real threats to the students themselves, as well as anyone they may come in contact with. There are also plenty of seeds planted here that leave room for a continuation, and I can’t wait to see what’s next for Lily and her new friends in the wake of the dramatic conclusion to this book.