Uncontrollable (The Nature of Grace #2)

UncontrollableBy S.R. Johannes

Publisher: Coleman & Stott
Publication Date: September 24, 2012
Genre: Young Adult Action Mystery/Thriller
Soure: Author Tour

As Grace recovers from tragedy, her science class is chosen by Agent Sweeney at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to help with research on the new “Red Wolf Reintroduction Program”.

While she’s excited about helping with the conservation of the endangered wolves, Grace knows this means being outdoors in the worst winter recorded, in a place she no longer feels comfortable. It also means working closely with Wyn (her ex) and his annoying girlfriend (Skyler), a girl whose idea of getting close to nature is picking silk plants and growing fake plants.

After a couple of wolves show up dead, Grace almost quits. However, when a fellow project team member goes missing, Grace continues the assignment under a renewed suspicion that someone might be sabotaging the conservation program. She quietly begins to hunt for clues.

Little does she know, she is being hunted too.

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Goodreads Summary

I’m going to avoid as many spoilers as possible from the first book Untraceable. You should read it before you read Uncontrollable though, there are things that happen in this one that are important from the last book. Plus it’s an awesome book.

Life is starting to settle into an uneasy new normal for Grace after the death of her father and the fallout from the bear poaching ring that devastated the town three months ago. For a lot of people, she’s become the town pariah, her best friend isn’t speaking to her anymore and she can barely face people she’s known and loved for years because of the misplaced guilt between them. Grace hasn’t been back in the woods in those three months, partly because it’s what her mom wants, partly because it reminds her of what she lost and what she’s still running from. Al, one of the poaching ringleaders hasn’t been caught yet and may still be out there looking for her.

Grace’s chance to start getting one part of her life back to normal comes when U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Agent Sweeney shows up at school and asks for volunteers to help study and map a local population of red wolves that are part of a reintroduction program. Surprisingly, her former best friend (and terrible outdoorsman) Wyn volunteers too, along with his bubble-headed girlfriend Sky.

It seemed like a colossally bad idea to me to send six teenagers out into the wild in the winter with just maps and undependable radios and GPS equipment and when Grace found the first dead red wolf, I knew trouble was coming. Between bad luck taking out some of her fellow volunteers and someone obviously up to no good, Grace once again found herself in the thick of a mystery involving dying animals, a mysterious stalker or two and hidden business deals for millions of dollars that are worth killing for.

I can’t think of another YA series that I read that’s a contemporary mystery thriller like this. Once the action starts, it barely slows down at all and doesn’t even really stop at the end of the story. I could easily imagine both this book and the first as movies with lots of special effects – Johannes’ writing evokes that. The kind of tension you can cut with a knife? It’s here.

Grace isn’t like any other contemporary YA heroine either. She’s got the guts and sheer kick-ass temperament of the best UF heroine, the sleuthing skills of a young Sherlock Holmes, the survivalist skills of Grizzly Adams and an endless supply of self-recriminations. She wasn’t quite as angry in Uncontrollable as she was in Untraceable but she was carrying around a ton and a half of guilt which was almost worse. I really love how she does what she believes is right, but. But she’s sixteen. She just up and leaves when she feels like it and is in danger constantly.

If there’s any issue I have with the series, it’s that Grace just doesn’t feel like a sixteen-year-old to me. I’m not saying someone that age couldn’t be, but she’s absolutely brilliant when it comes to all of that nature (picture me waving my arms around) stuff, more so than the guys with diplomas and fancy certificates sometimes. I’d love it if she were at least a few years older for her romantic situation too, I admit. Knowing necking is about all she’s going to get to with her guy is a little deflating.

I love the continuing supporting characters and the new ones that were introduced. Grace’s best friend Wyn keeps breaking my heart by thinking he’s ever going to be more to her; he’s so cute and is growing…dare I say it? Kind of…hot? Nah, he’s a dork. I’m so glad Grace’s mom is mostly back to normal and her dad’s mom Birdee is hilarious. Even the very rotund Ranger Les made me smile.

My Summary: You really have to read Untraceable and then Uncontrollable. They’re both normal length books but the time will fly by when you read them. It’s fun to have a strong, capable heroine who not only can rescue herself, but can save six guys while she’s at it, while solving a mystery and evading a couple of killers. That Johannes can write so knowledgably about the Carolina Rockies and wildlife and make you feel like you’re there is one giant bonus.

My Rating: A-

barbara 8