While Kelley Armstrong is best known for her Women of the Otherworld series, which I have read and mostly enjoyed, I personally prefer her YA-geared Darkest Powers series. The Darkest Powers novels, which begin with The Summoning and The Awakening, detail the stories of Chloe Sanders, a girl raised in a wealthy yet non-magical home who, upon hitting puberty, discovers that she can see ghosts.
A misinterpreted incident at school leads to a diagnosis of mental illness and soon lands her in a halfway house for disturbed teens with serious psychological problems, or so she is told. She and the others at the halfway house soon realize that the home is a front for a dangerous group of magic users who have been conducting genetic experiments designed to breed stronger necromancers, witches, sorcerers, and werewolves.
In The Reckoning, Chloe and her three friends are on the run from the Edison Group, searching for the father of the two boys. Aided by a secret group of adults who are allegedly opposed to the Edison group, they end up hiding in a home that is haunted by a violent poltergeist and dark secrets of its own. They discover that one or more of the adults has betrayed them and that the Edison group is still controlling and closely monitoring their activities.
The plot and premise of the novel are strong as are the characters, who are all distinct individuals and painted in shades of gray. Even the villains and traitors have redeeming traits and believable motives. I particularly enjoy the protagonist, Chloe Saunders. While she is a powerful necromancer, she is also refreshingly vulnerable, realistically insecure, and just plain nice. Overall, this third novel in Armstrong’s Darkest Powers series is filled with suspense, intrigue, and danger and relies less on high school drama and sexual references than other popular YA-geared urban fantasy series, though there is a nicely done romantic subplot. I have been actively encouraging my own daughter to read this series.