With a title like The Soulkeepers I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started reading this book, but any expectations I had were greatly surpassed. This book gripped me tight and took me on a surprising, smart, and refreshing journey.When the book begins we meet Jacob, a 15 year old boy who has just been in a mysterious car accident. Upon waking up in the hospital Jacob meets an uncle he never knew he had and learns that his mother is missing. Jacob is forced to move in with his uncle’s family in Paris, Illinois. In Paris, Jacob is confronted with small town bigotry, a mysterious neighbor and budding supernatural powers.G.P Ching has weaved an intricate and enthralling story with The Soulkeepers. The novel relies on established religious stories and texts, yet the novel’s story itself is highly original and unlike any YA Fantasy that I’ve ever read. As driven as this book is by the fantasy and supernatural elements, it is the characters that give it heart. Ching’s characters are easy to connect with and I found myself quite attached to them. I found the two main teenage characters, Jacob and Malini, to be refreshing in the way that their personalities are not used for cliché purposes- their wit is not used as a razor sharp weapon, their sarcasm is not used merely for sarcasm’s sake, and their status as social outsiders is used organically and not to give them some kind of moral edge. Their characters just feel real.And I must admit that I have a bit of a crush on Jacob. He, especially, is such a wonderfully crafted character. His emotions and state of mind are incredibly palpable throughout the novel. I appreciate the complexity of his character’s struggles and growth throughout the novel. I found myself most fascinated by Ching’s character Dr. Silva, Jacob’s mysterious neighbor and Helper. No matter how much we learn or how much is revealed about her, the mysterious aura surrounding Dr. Silva never really fades. She reminds me a great deal of Neil Gaiman’s Silas from The Graveyard Book or J.K. Rowling’s Severus Snape from Harry Potter. She’s one of those masterfully created characters that are dangerously captivating and hard to forget.The grandeur with which Ching writes in this book is quite breathtaking. Her added twists, turns, and renderings of familiar stories and myths are, as I’ve stated before, incredibly original and beautifully crafted. There’s something very thought provoking as well, not only in the topics Ching presents (God, angels, Heaven, Hell, good vs evil), but in the way she presents them. I loved this book and cannot wait to read the rest of the series. You absolutely MUST read this book!