Laney has had a terrifying and mysterious past. Kidnapped from her father and used and abused by evil men because of her unique abilities, she has escaped to a small town in Virginia to begin a new life as Julie Miller. Still plagued by broken memories of her traumas, she's determined to live a "normal" life and, although terrified to form close relationships for fear of exposing others to harm by the pursuers who have found her before, she is unable to ignore the kindness and charm of local college student, Austin Dorsett. But her new job as volunteer at the hospital brings her to the attention of the handsome and reticent Dr. Eli Elsworth, who has secrets of his own, when he witnesses her healing a young cancer patient, and a train of events is set in motion that will lead not only to danger for Julie and her new friends, but also to the revelation of incredible secrets about her past and her identity, as well as that of Eli Elsworth, new hospital resident, Dr. Marcus Samson, and even her new boyfriend, Austin.
Author Lori Pescatore's Human Blend is an absolutely fascinating novel because it is one of those rare stories which, while being an exciting, fast-paced and easy to read sci-fi/paranormal fantasy, great for young adult readers, it also offers the possibility of deeper philosophical reflection for the discerning more mature reader. Without wanting to reveal too much for fear of any spoilers, the unfolding mystery brings up extremely complex questions, including: Does true environmentalism mean a concern only for the earth itself, or does it necessarily include a respect and love for all earthly creatures, including human beings? Does genetic manipulation have only biological ethical concerns attached to it, or are there profound questions of individual personhood and spiritual issues involved as well? And are supernatural powers a blessing or a curse, something that volatile and conflicted creatures like human beings are not really morally-advanced enough to possess or have access to?
A cast of very likable and sympathetic protagonists, well-developed relationships and conflict, page-turning suspense and action and an intriguingly original plot make Human Blend a novel readers won't want to put down until the mystery is solved and, although Ms. Pescatore supplies no easy answers or judgments on the ethical questions this first story provides, I eagerly look forward to the next books in the trilogy to see where she goes with this unique concept, as well as to get to know Julie, Austin, Eli and Marcus better in their continuing story. A wonderful debut novel and recommended reading!