Cindy M. Hogan
Here is the second installment of Hogan’s first series. Christy is back home in Montana, and back to her normal life, basically as a loser at her school. Although it’s depressing to be back on the bottom, she assumes that all the excitement from D.C. is over, and wants to move on from that. Then, unexpectedly, Alex shows up again in her life by surprising her at her school. She had promised herself she was done with him and would choose Rick, but can’t keep herself from him. She takes him out on a tour of her town, and that is when things take a turn for the worse.
Apparently the terrorists have tracked Christy down and come to settle the score. They come for Christy and Alex and take them hostage. Without giving away any exciting details, the manage to escape, but now it’s clear that Christy can’t return to her old life. She will have to enter the witness protection program and start a new life under a false identity. Although her life was difficult for her, she finds it hard to say good-bye and leave everything behind. With no other choice, she finds herself training for a life she never thought she would have, as a popular cheerleader at a new school across the country.
It is hard on her, and takes some time to get used to, but Christy falls into her new life and is happy. During her months of training before beginning her new life, Christy learns how to look for attackers and hide from them, even how to fight them off. In her new life, she is able to adapt to her newfound popularity, although everything is completely new to her. One thing that is especially hard for Christy is remaining true to her values and ideals while she seems to be the only one in her new life that has them. She is forbidden to go to her old church, as that is part of her old life, which she must leave behind. She faces an internal struggle often, just as she is facing very real external ones. However, she must always remain alert and on her toes, never knowing when or how danger will come.
The ending of the book is great, packed with action and excitement, with a clear opening into the third novel in the series. I really enjoyed reading it and one thing that I’m really impressed with is the lack of offensive language or content. This really is a book that someone of any age could read. I’m excited to finish the series and see what will happen to Christy and who she will become in the next step of her life. The title of the next book, Created, leads me to believe that Christy will face even more changes and that the danger and excitement she never expected will continue to follow her wherever she goes.
Cindy M. Hogan
I’ve been meaning to pick up Watched and read it for over a year now, so when I actually met Cindy Hogan, I finally decided to check it out. Just based on the book jacket, I was expecting a suspense about a young girl who witnesses a murder, and that’s exactly what I got. I thought that the adventure in the book started out pretty early, which is something that is important to me. Something exciting has to happen pretty early on to grab my attention, and within the first few pages of the novel, Christy has witnessed a murder that will change her life. She has gone to D.C. to try to reinvent herself and become a new person, but she had no idea how much the trip would change her.
Christy and her friends are in immediate danger after witnessing the murder, and decide they need to get a message to the FBI about what they saw. They come up with a plan and the FBI contacts Christy directly, telling her they will watch her and protect her, but she has to help them as well. Chisty does the best she can, but is a small town girl from Montana, and this is all very scary to her, if not a little bit exciting. On the trip, she also cathes the attention of the two most attractive guys there with her. On top of everything else, she has a love triangle to try to sort out, which is as new an experience to her as witnessing a murder.
Trying to divide her time between Alex and Rick, it’s confusing enough for her to try to figure out her feelings for them herself, as well as dealing with trying to just stay safe. She knows that she is being watched, by the FBI as well as the bad guys that are now after her. She doesn’t know who is a real friend and who she can trust. She never feels safe, and doesn’t know where she can turn. I thought Hogan did a great job with Christy’s interior dialogue as well as the dialogue present in the rest of the book. You could really feel the different struggles she was going through and it was easy to see how she was feeling.
There is quite a few spots of action in the novel, although, at times, I would have liked a little more detail in the fighting scenarios. The love triangle was an interesting ingredient in the book, and one that I think helped move the plot line along as well. You always seem to pick a side, and I couldn’t help rooting for one of the guys vying for Christy’s attention. Overall, I thought it was a really good read. The plot wasn’t the most intricate of anything I’ve ever read, but it was certainly enjoyable, and I think would be easily followed and liked, especially by the intended audience, which is young adult. I am excited to continue on with the series and read more of what happens next to Christy and see what trouble she gets herself into next. The next book in the series is Protected, followed by the third in the trillogy, Created. They are all published and available now.