“Trusted” (Book 1 in the Trusted Series) by Taylor Stimac is a fast read with a young romance storyline and hints of the paranormal. Told from the first person point of view of teenager Tegan Summers, the book takes place during the summer vacation, during which Tegan turns 16. She’s not dated before now, but when she meets local radio personality Rake Johnson, she falls head-over-heels, like most 16-year olds do. Her point of view is quirky at times, being a teenager, and does a good job of relaying the story to the reader. There are hints of paranormal mixed into the story, but it mostly revolves around the love story between Tegan and Rake.
There were a couple things that stopped me from completely loving this book. Throughout the story, it is made clear that Tegan and her parents are Christians. Her parents are described as overprotective, as not liking secular music, and they even give her a purity ring. When she starts dating Rake, though, their primary concern is she will become too serious too fast. For whatever reason, there is very little mention of the fact that Rake is 19 and Tegan is only 15 when they meet (her 16th birthday is on the same day he meets her parents). Plus this is her first boyfriend…which leads me to believe that the parents should have been very concerned about his age, especially given their views on purity and secular music. It seemed a bit of a contradiction. As a parent myself, I found it disconcerting and a bit tough to swallow.
Thrown into that mix is Officer Damien Sanders. I’m not sure how old he is (old enough to be a cop) yet he stalks Tegan to “warn” her away from Rake. He sends her text messages, practically kidnaps her during her driving test, shows up on her front lawn, and calls her “baby.” Though I understood he was trying to warn her away from Rake, I had some serious concerns about his creepy Charlie child molester behavior. I also did not understand why Tegan never bothered to report this behavior, or why she was not more frightened by it. By all outward appearances, this is an officer of the law abusing his power to stalk a minor. She should have been a little more scared of that.
Normally with concerns like these, I would only rate a book 3-stars, but I really loved the book overall and that makes it a 4-star read. I enjoyed the paranormal elements, but I do wish there were more scenes of that (and I have a feeling that there will be in the next book). The ones that were there were well-written and handled very nicely. Tegan’s quirks are just fun enough to make me want to read the next book and get the resolution of the conflict. The book moves at a quick pace, which is a credit to the author for keeping the story moving. Tegan’s best friend, Sara, was also a fun character, and made for some humorous scenes with Tegan. Overall, this book is worth checking out and gives lots of reason to continue reading the series!