Ghost Hand, by Ripley Patton, is a truly gripping YA paranormal, with a twist that I've never seen before.
Seventeen-year old Olivia Black was born with a rare condition, fairly new to the world--Psyche Sans Soma. She was born with her right hand made of mental energy, glowing with blue light, but though it makes some uncomfortable (including, sadly, her own mother), her life is pretty much that of an ordinary teen. Until one day in class when her hand seems to take on a will of its own, and reaches into the girl sitting in front of her, pulling out of her actual physical razor blades...the girl was a cutter.
Olivia is horrified, but the cute new boy, Marcus, who's just arrived at school seems to take it in his stride, and covers for her. It's no coincidence that Marcus is right there next to her-- he knows more than Olivia about Phsyche Sans Soma, including the danger that it poses for anyone that has it. Turns out there is an unscrupulous cabal of scientists, thugs, and haters who are hunting down those with PSS--a cabal who wants to extract their physic energy, whatever the cost to the individual. And Olivia is next on their list of prey.
Marcus knows this, and he's determined to save her, and others with PSS. But can a group of teens, even with strange gift of soul-pickpocketing that Olivia's ghost hand has been displaying, foil the twisted mastermind who is hunting them?
It is tremendously, consumingly readable. Olivia's conflicts (who to trust?) and the danger she's in (how to survive?) keep building in tension as more is revealed and the threat to her life becomes more immediate. There's forward momentum plot-wise to spare, but the person-hood of the characters never gets overshadowed. The a romance sub-plot between Olivia and Marcus is perfectly believable and conflicted--how much of it is escape from the tension of the situation into physical attraction, and how much true caring is something that will have to be played out in the next books, though I do hope it is the later.
And the whole concept of PSS is utterly fascinating--the reader is right there with Olivia as her own ghost hand changes into something strange, as she meets others with PSS for the first time, and as she realizes that there are people she's known all her life who think she's an abomination.
Ghost Hand is an excellent book by any measure, and shows just how good self-published books can be--it is absolutely professional in design and editing.
Note on diversity: Marcus is described thus--"He had dark hair, brown, eyes, dark skin; not a tan, but the kind that comes with your DNA" (page 2), which I think is an a pleasingly pithy way to get skin color out there without resorting to food metaphors!
Here's another review, at Finding Wonderland
Disclaimer: review copy received from the author
(it's currently on sale as an ebook at Amazon for only 99 cents--well worth it!)