In The Island and the Kite, Mary Susan Bennett ventures to New York City for a day of movie-watching and dilly-dally. Mary Susan’s likeable personality is instantly welcoming to readers. She is the type of 19-year-old that never meets a stranger. She has an amazing ability to strike genuine rapport with whoever crosses her path. While in the city, Mary Susan runs into her serial ex-girlfriend, Stefi Angel Brown, who wants her back and seems sincere in her desire.
On this day, however, Mary Susan is met with delight and danger. There is a serial killer on the loose, and Mary Susan is stranded and alone. She fills the time through leisurely conversations, by consuming sweets, and performing good deeds— until the night takes a turn for the worse. Mary Susan meets evil, as the psychic Madame Kizzy has predicted. Despite her tussles with three vigilantes and a pair of murders, Mary Susan escapes wholly unharmed.
There were moments during the read that tested my suspension of belief— often to the point that I couldn’t balance fiction with logic. In these moments, I felt that Zahni stretched the plausibility of his plot. For example, the happenstance meeting and re-meeting of characters, along with the supernatural occurrences that slipped into the story just as Mary Susan was on the brink of injury. These moments felt like easy solutions to keep Mary Susan safe and alive rather than a rich opportunity to allow Mary Susan to meet the consequences of her choices and actions, essentially following through on the conflict.
Zahni divided The Island and the Kite into two parts. Stefi makes quick appearances throughout Book One. In Book Two, however, Zahni dives into Stefi’s world, weaving in a storyline that is much easier to digest. Stefi is a talented basketball player who has burned Mary Susan one too many times. But, Zahni presses rewind to give insight into the people and events that pull Stefi’s heart back to Mary Susan.
The Island and the Kite is a novella for readers who desire romance and mystery fused with quirky stories and quick tempos.
Lauren Cherelle uses her time and talents to traverse imaginary and professional worlds. She recently penned her sophomore novel, “The Dawn of Nia.” Outside of reading and writing, she volunteers as a child advocate and enjoys new adventures with her partner of thirteen years. You can find Lauren online at Twitter, www.lcherelle.com, and Goodreads.