Review: Untraceable by S.R. Johannes

Publication Date: November 29th, 2011

Coleman & Scott
Format: Kindle Copy
RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars
SUMMARY
Everyone leaves a mark. What if yours could be erased?
Untraceable is a new teen wilderness thriller with a missing father, a kickbutt heroine, and of course – two hot boys.
16 year old Grace has lived in the Smokies all her life, patrolling with her forest ranger father who taught her about wildlife, tracking, and wilderness survival.

When her dad goes missing on a routine patrol, Grace refuses to believe he’s dead and fights the town authorities, tribal officials, and nature to find him.

One day, while out tracking clues, Grace is rescued from danger by Mo, a hot guy with an intoxicating accent and a secret. As her feelings between him and her ex-boyfriend get muddled, Grace travels deep into the wilderness to escape and find her father.

Along the way, Grace learns terrible secrets that sever relationships and lives. Soon she’s enmeshed in a web of conspiracy, deception, and murder. And it’s going to take a lot more than a compass and a motorcycle (named Lucifer) for this kick-butting heroine to save everything she loves.

I sent an email to the author last week asking her where I could purchase her book. I’m not sure if she could tell but I was a little…er, frantic. I literally searched all the on line bookstores and I couldn’t find a copy! Well, she was nice enough to tell me that her book wasn’t available yet. Duh! Anyway, I waited {im}patiently like a good little bookworm that I am and when the day finally arrived, I wasted no time and devoured this baby right away.

Untraceable is a story about a teen who doesn’t know the words surrender, relinquish, defeat, give up, submit or any other words synonymous to concede. Grace is practically the only person in the whole town who believes that there’s something suspicious about her father’s disappearance. The rest of the population of small town North Carolina just tolerated her inquisitiveness as a way to deal with grief, even her own mother. Grace seem to keep finding herself in a heap of trouble as she digs up clues to her father’s whereabouts. But she’s determined. She refuses to give up hope; as long as there’s no body, Grace will scour every square inch of the Smokies to find her father. What she discovers along the way is the gruesome reality of what extremes people will do for money and a boy with a history connected to her search.

Grace is such a refreshing character. Her rock hard determination and belief that her father was still alive parallels her will to do whatever she sets her mind into. Her best trait is that she just wouldn’t give up, no matter how ludicrous she may seem to other people or no matter how many times she’d hit a dead end. She just keeps going. Nothing fazes this girl, not even a knife to her throat. Heck, she’d pet a bear one moment and give a guy a roundhouse kick on the next! I truly enjoyed reading her POV. She has this funny opinion about herself; not so much self-deprecating but just candidly real.

The action in this novel was unrelenting. It made for a fast read, in my opinion. The gruesome parts were a bit unBEARable – I found myself tearing up on some scenes, especially the one with a trapped cub. If you’re an animal lover, there are some hard-hitting, hard-to-swallow facts about poaching. It was disturbing and yet I was oddly thankful for the education.

I’ve never been a fan of camping or any outdoor activities myself. But after reading this book, I may sign up for the next fly fishing class. I have no clue how  Ms. Johannes did it, but she somehow romanticized all the things I hated about any outdoor activities known to man.

Now, I’m sure you’ve read me lamenting about annoying love triangles many a times and unfortunately, this book has it. FORTUNATELY, it wasn’t the kind that made me want to yank my hair out.  It almost felt like the author was running two different stories. It wasn’t that Grace was a completely different person when she was with either guys, it was just the way she compartmentalized either boys. Never did I feel the usual annoyance that I usually feel when I read love triangles and I think it also had something to do with the way Ms. Johannes gave Grace a feeling of certainty on who her heart truly belonged. I know there were some instances where she could’ve gone either way but I wasn’t fooled. The boy whom she ended up with (?) just felt like her other half. There’s just no ifs and buts about it…and I may or may not be biased to the Brit boy because he kept calling her, “blossom”. Sawwwwwwooooon (oh crap! did I just spoil that?)

This book ended in a cliffy and I’m dying to read the next one. If you’re looking for a change of pace, this YA suspense will just be the ticket. This book had me up and at ’em at four in the morning. I just couldn’t get it out of my head. Untraceable is a well conceptualized, well written novel that’s truly one of a kind. It had an environmental message woven in a tale about a family’s way of dealing with a loss of a loved one. Unconventional, yes but oddly appropriate. Everyone’s got a way of telling a story and I thought that S.R. Johannes did a marvelous job.  I love finding great reads that really wasn’t even in my radar up until seven days ago. Don’t pass up on this book.

“Everything that touches this earth leaves a special imprint, a unique mark that proves we existed in some way – no matter how invisible we may feel.” – S.R. Johannes

  • I've seen this book everywhere! I actually stopped to read your review and I'm glad I did, although more for the TBR pile….

  • I am so looking forward to this book!!! Told you b4 you always get the best books!! Maybe it is because you are AMAZING!!! Loved the review can't wait to read this!!!

  • Jo

    I was going to yell, because I thought you reviewed yet another book that wasn't out yet. Luckily, you didn't. Putting this on my Christmas list too.

  • im so glad you liked it and happy you did not forget about it on your awesome list of books.

  • Ok, will my reading wishlist ever stop growing?!
    I want to read it, and soon 😀 I love the cover btw, very fitting to the story. Thanks for the review 😉

  • Sounds like a fantastic novel!!! You write really good reviews!! I always want to buy the book afterwards!!

  • *doesn't seem like I'm going to lose

    Yeah, that's what I meant. 8D haha

  • I wonder why I hadn't heard about this book until the other week. Because it sounds amazing! And I didn't realize there would be a love-triangle, but I'm happy to hear that it doesn't seem like I'm not going to lose any hair over it. LOL Awesome review!!