Ask Me by Kimberly Pauley
Ask Aria Morse anything, and she must answer with the truth. Yet she rarely understands the cryptic words she‘s compelled to utter. Blessed—or cursed—with the power of an Oracle who cannot decipher her own predictions, she does her best to avoid anyone and everyone.
But Aria can no longer hide when Jade, one of the few girls at school who ever showed her any kindness, disappears. Any time Aria overhears a question about Jade, she inadvertently reveals something new, a clue or hint as to why Jade vanished. But like stray pieces from different puzzles, her words never present a clear picture.
Then there’s Alex, damaged and dangerous, but the first person other than Jade to stand up for her. And Will, who offers a bond that seems impossible for a girl who’s always been alone. Both were involved with Jade. Aria may be the only one who can find out what happened, but the closer she gets to solving the crime, the more she becomes a target. Not everyone wants the truth to come out.
About the author
1. Do you have a secret talent?
I love to sing and even did some musical theatre in high school. I’m not going to go on American Idol or anything, but I do okay. I like to think that Aria and I would get along musically.
2. Is there a song that really reminds you of your book?
Wow, this book has so much to do with music that it’s really hard to answer that question. I guess if I have to pick one song that sums up the book more than others...um...well, I’m tied with two: Extraordinary Machine by Fiona Apple and Truth by Alexander. Actually, more the Truth song, but I really like the Fiona Apple one so I feel like I have to include it.
3. What was the easiest thing about writing this book?
Drinking the coffee that fueled me while writing it. I’m mostly serious -- I wrote the majority of this book in various cafes around London.
4. Is there a word you love to use?
5. Any real or imaginary pets?
We recently got a puppy (I think I was momentarily insane). His name is Marley J. Kravitz after Bob Marley and Lenny Kravitz. He’s a puggle (pug x beagle). If he was imaginary, he’d probably make a lot less mess.
Aria Morse has a problem, she tells the truth whenever she hears a question being asked, whether it is directed at her or not. Her parents are divorced and she has been abandoned by them when her "gift" appears when she is twelve and now lived with her grandparents in the middle of nowhere in Florida. Her grandmother had the gift as well and it turns out that the truthful answers Aria gives are much like a Magic 8 ball, the answers may be vague or in riddles, but it is the truth. It turns out that Aria comes from a long line of oracles, straight from Greek mythology.
Even though Aria now compensates by listening to music to avoid hearing questions and is regarded as a freak, she does have a few friends. When one of the most popular girls in the school turns up dead, Aria thinks she knows who did it. Each chapter starts with a song title and sets the mood and as she unravels this mystery, the music helps her cope with her situation. She is torn between two boys. both have been nice to her and one steals her heart. Both are considered suspects in the murder and Aria thinks she has it narrowed down. She finally confides in another girl, and feels relieved that she no longer is keeping her gift a secret.
Pauley does a wonderful job conveying the loneliness that Aria endures because of her ability. This is a perfect murder mystery with a bit of mythology woven in instead of the normal paranormal stuff that is so prevalent. This is suitable for even young teens since there is only some kissing, mentions of alcohol and even though there is a murder involved, no real graphic violence. I really enjoyed Pauley's other series, and this one is even better. More, please.
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