A Burden of Choice (A Circle of Roses, #1)

Young Adult

Amelia is trying to survive high school, escape the stalker-ish football team’s captain, connect with her younger sister, and maybe flirt with the new kid, Lee. However, when Amelia allows her friend Dana to convince her to go to the haunted church to seek out the boy Dana likes, the night doesn’t end with a few pranks like expected. Now Amelia is possessed by a supernatural power and is haunted by an organization with three split factions and three different ideas about Amelia’s life. Saved by Lee, she must choose whether to keep or get rid of the power because if she makes the wrong choice it could mean her death at the hands of the boy she likes or even the end of the world!

An interesting paranormal YA, "A Burden of Choice" focuses mainly on Amelia, Lee, and a couple of side characters. Amelia is smart, independent, and responsible. Without the paranormal aspect, the novel could easily pass for a slice-of-life light romantic contemporary story. There are overt Christian overtones to the story and readers who enjoy these novels will appreciate how Ellery addresses that even the people you don’t like have back stories.  Readers will appreciate that while there is room for more to happen in the series, the book is also largely self-contained without cliffhangers. While the plot is clear cut from the beginning, and the story is not a “cannot put down” read, it’s a clean read that YA readers can thoroughly enjoy!

Sarah E Bradley