Publishers Weekly Review
First-time novelist Giles combines an intense thriller plot with one of the oddest afterlifes in recent fantasy. Seventeen-year-old Zoe, her younger brother Jonah, and their eccentric but loving mother are still hurting a year after Zoe's father died in a caving accident. Life goes on, but nothing fits right. Then two dangerous people appear at their secluded mountain home: Stan, a vicious thief and murderer, and a hunky bounty hunter Zoe nicknames X, who has been assigned to confront Stan with his crimes and drag him off to the Lowlands for eternal punishment. After Zoe prevents X from completing his mission, they become enamored of each other, but the repercussions of their actions aren't far off. Zoe's mutually devoted relationships with her brother, mother, sardonic lesbian friend, Val, are standouts, as is the endearingly oddball dialogue. X-who has no name, never knew his parents, and grew up in the equivalent of Hell-is more of a cipher, though he'll grow on readers just as he grows on Zoe. It's an intriguing story that leaves the door open for future books. Ages 14-up. Agent: Jodi Reamer, Writers House. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Library Journal Review
Gr 9 Up-Seventeen-year-old Zoe Bissell has had a rough year. She hasn't been able to find closure following her father's unexpected death in a caving accident and the disappearance of two beloved neighbors. Then, during a harsh winter storm, she and her eight-year-old brother, Jonah, are attacked. X, a handsome and mysterious stranger, comes to their rescue. Unbeknownst to Zoe, X is actually a bounty hunter from a dark, unique area of Hell known as the Lowlands, and he was sent after Zoe's attacker's soul. Despite X's hellacious origins, he and Zoe form an intense connection, and X learns empathy for humans. The romance will not be without consequences, though, as some beings from the Lowlands are not happy about X's and Zoe's intense feelings for each other, and Zoe's friend Dallas could end up with a broken heart. Giles's fantastical novel reads like a blend of J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" and modern-day horror, such as Stranger Things. Zoe is an empowered, complicated female protagonist with a huge heart, and X is a heartthrob with a twisted past and a thoughtful persona. VERDICT Highly recommended for YA collections.-Margaret A. Robbins, University of Georgia, Athens © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Booklist Review
Zoe, 17, and her family live in the snowbound Montana wilderness in fear of the Lowlands, a place from which enslaved bounty hunters enter our world to collect the souls of wrongdoers. Still reeling from their father's disappearance, Zoe and her brother are rescued in a blizzard by a mysterious young bounty hunter Zoe calls X. Raised in the Lowlands, X has never had a name, much less anything resembling a normal life, but when he and Zoe meet, they fall hard in love for each other. Readers are likely to fall hard for Zoe's family, whose fierce independence, stubborn refusal to accept injustice, and unconditional love for one another pulls them through multiple tragedies. Giles beautifully captures the breathless, visceral, and instant attraction between Zoe and X, as well as Zoe's disappointment and anger when she learns what has actually become of her father. This action-packed romance with surprisingly dimensional characters offers no easy answers to myriad difficult questions, making it a rich and satisfying read on multiple levels. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: This book's big-time push includes blurbs by the likes of Peter Jackson, two author tours, and preorder promo gifts.--Carton, Debbie Copyright 2016 Booklist