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The Mark

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Overview

Cassie has always seen the mark-a soft glow like candlelight-but she only just discovered what it means. A marked person will die within twenty-four hours. At first Cassie's ability seems useless-especially when she can't save her own grandmother. But when the mark appears on her boyfriend, Cassie not only saves him but convinces him of her power. Together, they search out those marked for death, trying to change destiny. But the question remains: is it really okay to play with ...

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The Mark

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Overview

Cassie has always seen the mark-a soft glow like candlelight-but she only just discovered what it means. A marked person will die within twenty-four hours. At first Cassie's ability seems useless-especially when she can't save her own grandmother. But when the mark appears on her boyfriend, Cassie not only saves him but convinces him of her power. Together, they search out those marked for death, trying to change destiny. But the question remains: is it really okay to play with fate?

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Nadol debuts with a thoughtful exploration of fate and free will. Cassie is 16 when she realizes she can tell that a person will shortly die. She has seen an aura surrounding people for years, but its meaning is made certain when she follows a “marked” man and witnesses his demise. After she fails to prevent her grandmother’s death, she’s sent to live with an unknown aunt halfway across the country. Even there, she continues to see marked people and feels powerless to help them, until she sees the glow on her boyfriend, Lucas, and manages to avert his death. Lucas encourages Cassie to try to change others’ fates, but strangers are scared by her predictions, and she struggles with the ethical ramifications of her actions. Nadol’s story is more than a modern take on the Cassandra story of Greek myth, and the author uses her protagonist’s moral torment (and a philosophy course she takes) to touch on schools of philosophical thought, from Aristotle to Plato. As in life, there are no tidy endings, but the engrossing narration and realistic characters create a deep, lingering story. Ages 14–up. (Jan.)
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Cassie Renfield, 16, can tell when people are about to die by the glow she sees surrounding them. "The mark" has always been part of her life, though it isn't until she sees it on her beloved grandmother that she begins to question whether she should try to prevent the deaths. When Nan dies, Cassie is sent to her father's hometown in Kansas to spend the summer with an aunt she has never met. There she begins a romance with Lucas, a handsome philosophy student whose life Cassie saves after the mark appears on him. Emboldened by this success, she agrees to his plea that she tell those with the mark about their impending deaths, although in her heart she isn't sure that fate should be changed. Nadol's debut novel is a compelling coming-of-age tale with a bright, likable narrator. Teens will identify with Cassie's uncertainty about her future and the challenges she faces in her first relationship. Although her ability borders on the supernatural, her dilemma and emotions feel genuine and believable thanks to Nadol's sensitive writing. Cassie's search for information about her parents is a natural response to returning to her father's hometown, although the subplot in which she stumbles upon a huge secret about her mother (thanks to someone she "coincidentally" meets early in the novel) seems contrived and feels hastily tacked on at the novel's end. Despite this, readers will eagerly follow Cassie's story and will hope for a sequel.—Leah J. Sparks, formerly at Bowie Public Library, MD
Kirkus Reviews
A compelling protagonist and a riveting premise search for a story, in a dark fantasy that reads like a Twilight Zone episode. Sixteen-year-old Cassie has always seen the "mark" around someone about to die, but has only recently realized its significance. After her beloved grandmother's death, Cassie is forced to spend the summer with a distant aunt, grappling with the implications of her "gift." She tumbles into a passionate affair with the handsome TA of her philosophy class, who has his own ideas about the responsibilities of such foreknowledge. Cassie is a thoughtful, sympathetic character whose struggles with her unpleasant power feel very real; her agonizing over confronting strangers with their imminent death is heartwrenching. The other characters, however, serve only to convey information and illustrate various ethical positions. As the coincidental revelations of long-concealed secrets pile up, the plot lurches into implausibility, with a conclusion frustratingly devoid of any resolution. Still, the ideas explored could inspire heated classroom debates, and philosophically inclined teens will find that the central question of "What happens now?" will linger long after the many plot holes are forgotten. (Horror. YA)
Children's Literature - Jennifer Waldrop
If you knew someone was going to die within twenty-four hours, would you tell them? That is a question that Cassandra Renfield, who has the ability to see death on a person in the form of an otherworldly glow, must answer. For as long as she can remember, she has seen the mark. Cassie does not know why she sees it or what to do about it, but when her Nan dies and she goes to live with her Aunt Drea, she begins to uncover family secrets. This is an unusual young adult novel in that the action is mostly internal. Cassie is not trying to solve a murder, there is no imminent danger. She is simply a girl with an unusual gift that presents her with difficult choices that she struggles with. Cassie's gift is unique, but her journey to discover who she is and where she came from is one that all teenagers can identify with. Reviewer: Jennifer Waldrop
VOYA - Amy Fiske
If you knew someone were going to die, would you tell them? If you had the power to change the outcome—would you try? These are just a few of the questions asked by author Nadol. Sixteen-year-old Cassie Renfield has always had a special power. She can see "the mark," a special light that forms around people when they are getting ready to die. She does not know how or why they are chosen—only that it will happen on that day. Cassie's parents died in a car accident when she was just a baby, and she lives with her grandmother Nan. One day the mark appears around her grandmother, and Cassie tries frantically to change her fate. After sharing her secret with her boyfriend Lucas, things start to unravel. At first he does not believe her and wants to see her theory of the mark tested. Cassie tries to find answers to her ability by searching her past. When she starts digging, what she finds changes the course of her life. Nadol does a fabulous job of hooking the reader right away. Although the story seems simple enough, she poses lots of serious questions about fate, death, and free will. Even though the ending of the book seems a bit contrived, most teen readers will thoroughly enjoy this read. Reviewer: Amy Fiske
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781599906607
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 8/30/2011
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 733,024
  • Age range: 14 - 18 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Jen Nadol currently resides in a 150 year old farmhouse with her husband and three young sons. She has no paranormal abilities and is pretty happy about it. This is her first book.

www.jennadolbooks.com

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 30 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(9)

4 Star

(12)

3 Star

(6)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 30 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 18, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Sarah Bean the Green Bean Teen Queen for TeensReadToo.com

    Cassie has seen the mark on people all her life. When a person has the mark around them, they are about to die. Cassie doesn't know how or why or where, but she knows with the mark, it will happen today.

    Cassie tries to escape her "gift" and avoid people. But when she takes a philosophy course and befriends her TA, Cassie has to share her secret. If you knew today was someone's last - would you tell them?

    I started reading THE MARK thinking it was a paranormal book, which in some ways it ways. Cassie's ability and seeing the mark has a paranormal feel to it. But THE MARK is not a paranormal book. Instead it takes a paranormal ability to explore philosophy and try to find answers to Cassie's dilemma. Should she tell someone they are about to die? Does she have a responsibility to share what she knows? Can she save someone or is it okay to keep it to herself?

    This is a quiet, slow book, but it's still an interesting read. I never found myself bored and I actually liked the philosophy twist on the paranormal. There's also a secondary plot about Cassie discovering information about her family, which I thought was somewhat predictable, but still interesting. There's a paranormal twist at the end that after a pretty non-paranormal book felt out of place. But if you go in expecting a more contemporary storyline that raises great questions about life and if we have a responsibility to help, I think readers will be satisfied.

    THE MARK could make a great book group read and could lead to a great discussion on philosophy, especially since the book never feels heavy or bogged down in semantics. I think THE MARK also has great adult appeal, so give this one to older teens and adults who enjoy YA.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2014

    It was okay

    The book is a little slow and boring at parts, but its good to read on a lazy day.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2013

    this book is very good and I highly recommend you read it

    this book is very good and I highly recommend you read it

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2012

    Strong start to a retelling of the classic myth

    A slow starter, but The Mark rises to meet its interesting premise as a modern retelling of the myth of Cassandra. The discussions on philosophy add a contemplative air to Cassandra's gift, giving readers room to imagine themselves in her shoes. Overall, a great beginning to this new series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2011

    Good read, I want to know what happens next.

    When this book ended I wanted more. I find myself still thinking about the characters and wondering what they might be up to now. I am very excited that there is a sequel coming out because I really want to know what happens next!

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  • Posted February 2, 2011

    um, it wuz nice

    it is a good book, but not my fav.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 23, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Didn't fulfill its potential

    Cass can see death auras, which she simply calls 'the mark'. If she runs across a person on the day they're destined to die, she sees an illumination around them and knows they're a goner. Then she sees the mark on her own grandmother. Since Cass is an orphan, her Nan's death means that she has to go live with her guardian, a workaholic aunt she's never met.

    While living with her aunt, she decides to seek information about her gift/curse, and her search leads her to audit a philosophy class where Lucas, the buttoned-down and brainy, is TA. Attraction happens, and much philosophical shoe-gaziness ensues.

    There's not all that much to say about this novel. It's like a donut without a glaze or filling. In another novel, I could see the mark being a cool thing--a power that could snarl the plot in wonderful ways and really generate a reader's interest. Here it's an excuse to explore basic Philo 101 questions about life and death, and doesn't lead anywhere new.

    On the romance: Cass gets emotionally attached to Lucas way too quickly for my taste. It's certainly realistic for a grieving teenage girl, but it doesn't feel consistent with her responsible behavior in the past.

    While reading this very brief novel, I kept wondering, "Where's the action? Where's the compelling romance? Where's the funny?" I just didn't see them.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 17, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Just okay for me, not enough Emotion nor Action!

    Cassie can see a light around a person if they're going to die with in the next 24 hrs. It is a sad book but did not make me cry, not enough emotion. There is no real love story, although there is a relationship. Some Greek mythology which was a nice change up.

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  • Posted June 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Not enough action

    This book was just an okay one for me. The story line was good and there were parts that could have been emotional. Not enough action for me. If you are someone who truly enjoys action that has you on your seat, then this is not one of those books. It is pretty much about a girl who see an aura around those who are about to die and she tries to figure out why and if it is her "duty" to tell those who have the mark. Good read but a little too "normal" for me.

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  • Posted April 29, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Gift or Curse?

    I say this in every book that incorporates the Greek mythology in their story. I love it. Same goes to the Mark. Cassandra Renfield have this ability. It can either be a gift or a curse depending on how you look at it. She see this glow - a Mark on a person the day their life is supposed to end.

    Cassie's life is a bit on the morbid side yet her attitude is not. I really, really, like her.
    She lost her parents in a car accident when she was a child and the only relative she know (of) - her grand mother Nan died on this book. I really thought that she'll be granted to be an emancipated minor right away and then Nan's will was read. Apparently she have one more living relative, her father's sister whom she never met and never heard of. She has to stay with her for 90days and then she can come back to her old life with almost half a million dollars in her bank account. It turned out to be a pretty interesting summer. She had her first job in a coffee shop, took her first college subject (non-credited but still...), she met a guy named Lucas and became his girlfriend and then she found out the answers to her a secret and it has great depth and history. I was very impressed with Jen Nadol. The philosophical debate and dialogue between Lucas and Cassie was so engaging and have that right amount of intensity it made me sad when it was all over. I hope to see more on her next books.

    I think the biggest issue that Cassie is facing right now is where the heck will she find other information about her ability? Sure now she is more confident on where it came from but there are still a lot of missing pieces to it. The fact that she now have an annoying ex-boyfriend who keeps trying to make her feel guilty on not using her "gift" to save people is just one way of putting it as selfish, of course that is easy for him to say. For some reason I think Lucas will be a nuisance in Cassie's future. The determinist in him could turn evil. *shrug* I guess I'll just have to wait and find out.

    I am not a fan of the first two chapters, I was bored but I love the rest of it. This book serves more as an introduction. Who is Cassie? What can see do? What is her history? Who are the people involve? etc... Over all it is a good start for a series.

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  • Posted February 28, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Deaths Aura

    Quick & Dirty: A well-written and thought-provoking tale that will have you intrigued.

    Opening Sentence: There is nothing like the gut-hollowing experience of watching someone die, especially when you know it's coming.

    The Review:

    Cassie Renfield has the freakish ability to see The Mark, an aura surrounding someone indicating that they will soon die. To make matters worse, Cassie sees The Mark around her grandmother and is haunted by the fact that she wasn't able to save her. When Cassie's grandmother dies, she is forced to relocate and live with her estranged aunt, who only cares about her own life and career. Cassie begins to search for answers and her inner struggles drive the plot forward.

    Cassie is immediately likable, and her situation is compelling. It's interesting seeing Cassie grapple with trying to understand her ability and its ramifications. She struggles with the burden of choosing between trying to help people or letting fate run its course. There's also an intriguing mystery surrounding the death of her parents. Less intriguing though is Cassie's relationship with her romantic interest, Lucas. Although their relationship is characterized by manipulation and deception, it falls a little flat and I for one simply couldn't get into that part of the story.

    Some other parts of the otherwise compelling story fall a little flat. The ending in particular is a little anti-climatic. In fact, the story generally could use more action. If you're hoping for a book driven by a solid romantic plotline, this isn't it. While Cassie does have a relationship with Lucas, this story is more about Cassie's self discovery. In addition, I felt that the secondary characters were a little lacking.

    Overall, I did enjoy reading The Mark. While neither an action packed story nor an angst laden romantic melodrama, Ms. Nadol nonetheless pens a thought-provoking novel filled with grief, heartache, and isolation. It's certainly unique and does an excellent job of showcasing the ambiguity surrounding fate. The psychological and philosophical themes of the novel were compelling and will certainly keep readers guessing.

    Notable Scene:

    As I walked home I kept replaying it. Blood and broken glass on the pavement. The wide, unseeing eyes of the man who had hit him and the cell phone spinning brokenly on the shiny asphalt. I didn't know what was worse: what I had seen or what it meant.

    FTC Advisory: Bloomsbury provided me with a copy of The Mark. No goody bags, sponsorships, "material connections," or bribes were exchanged for my review. In addition, I don't receive affiliate fees for anything purchased via links from my site.

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  • Posted January 31, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The Mark by Jen Nadol

    For as long as she can remember, Cass has been able to see "the mark" on people. The only problem with her gift is those who do have "the mark" end up dying withing 24 hours.


    Cass just wants to be normal, but "the mark" makes her anything but. Cass was a very believable character. She was quite mature for her age, of course she kind of had to be because she was on her own after her grandmother, Nan, died.


    Throughout the book Cass struggles to answer the one very important question: Should she tell? I can't even begin to imagine what that would be like, let alone know what to do in such a complex situation. Let me ask you: If you could see "the mark" on people, what would you do? Would you tell, or just ignore the situation?


    I love this story, especially the philosophical questions that were explored all throughout the novel - definitely made me really stop and think, although I couldn't figure anything out until it was finally revealed at the end.


    The Mark is a brilliant debut and I recommend it to those who are looking for something different and/or something that really gets your brain working. I personally would love to see a sequel!!

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  • Posted January 29, 2010

    A unique YA paranormal story

    My thoughts...Let me start by saying that this book was not at all what I expected. I knew the jist of the plot, but I still expected a story full of teen angst. I was wrong. While The Mark is not a love story, it is a very smart story about life, death, free-will, choices and consequences.

    Cassie, the main character, deals with seeing the Mark on people prior to their death. Jen Nadol does a brilliant job with this character. She is grieving from the loss of her Grandmother and is forced to stay with her estranged Aunt. Her actions are realistic to the situation. The character feels so real, I found it easy to identify with her and her concerns. The other characters in the story play small parts, none of them left a very strong impression, but they did help the story move along.

    The paranormal element in this story, the Mark which Cassie sees around people, is very original. It raises some interesting questions and evoked quite a few thoughts in my mind. These psychological and ethical questions make the story very intriguing. Like many people, I am afraid of death. The idea that someone could see it coming and warn you about your impending death is frightening. Would you want to know? Cassie tries to come to terms with ability and tries to decide if it is a burden or a gift. Cassie's self discovery leads her to learn about her deceased parents and to a love interest. The story offers something for everyone. I would recommend it to older teens as well as adults who like books that ask them to step outside their comfort zone and ask questions.

    The cons...Without knowing whether or not The Mark will have a sequel, I have to say the ending. Cassie's present dilemma is resolved, but I was left with several unanswered questions. I do hope we will have the opportunity to learn more about Cassie and the Mark.

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  • Posted January 29, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    An Incredible Debut

    Cassie Renfield has lived her entire life seeing this glow around some people. The glow could be explained away as a trick of the light, but the day that Cassie follows a man with the glow and watches him die her suspicions about the mark are confirmed. After the death of her Nan, Cassie leaves for an unfamiliar town with an unfamiliar relative and is confronted with the possibility that maybe seeing the mark is a curse, but it may also be her duty to do something about it.

    I've been longing to read The Mark since I heard what it was about and Jen Nadol does not disappoint at all. She has created such a vivid world that is so much deeper than I imagined it would be. Cassie is instantly likable and I felt an incredibly strong connection with her from the moment she watches a man die. The plot is intense in that it poses the question "if you knew today was someone's last, would you do something about it?" Cassie is in the difficult position of whether or not she should attempt to change what she views as fate.

    After she moves to Bering, Kansas and enrolls in a philosophy course, her moral dilemma is compounded by her new philosophy major, TA boyfriend. What unfolds is a thought-provoking, ethically complex, and morally challenging story about a girl's struggle to be normal while deciding if she should involve herself in someone's last day. The Mark isn't a fast-paced thriller, but it is quite the page turner. I loved every page and only wish there was even more to enjoy. Don't go into this one expecting a light read. It will make you think. I'm still thinking about it and probably will for a while to come.

    Opening line: There is nothing like the gut-hollowing experience of watching someone die, especially when you know it's coming.

    Favorite line: It always came back to that - my gut instinct that fate wasn't meant to be tampered with.

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    Posted January 29, 2010

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