(Young Adult Alien Huntress #1)
by Gena Showalter
She's been chosen to fight the elusive enemy among us . . .
Phoenix Germaine has been trying to earn back her mother's trust after going into rehab and kicking Obadyn - the drug of chocie for New Chicago teens. But when a party in the woods turns into an all-out battle with the most ferocious aliens Phoenix has never seen, she's brought home in what appears to be an Onadyn-induced state. Hello, reform school.
Except, what her mother doesn't know is that Phoenix has just been recruited to join the elite Alien Investigation and Removal agency, where she'll learn to fight dirty, track hard, and destroy the enemy. Her professional training will be rigorous and dangerous, and the fact that one of her instructors is Ryan Stone - the drop-dead gorgeous, nineteen-year-old agent she met in the woods that night - doesn't make things any easier. Especially when dating him is totally against the rules . . .
Wildly imaginative, action-packed, and thrilling, Red Handed launches Gena Showalter's stunning new alien huntress series.
Phoenix Germaine has finally kicked her Onadyn habit, and she's proud of her accomplishment. However, one bad night in the woods with a bunch of nasty aliens leaves her in a bad state, and she discovers that she's burned more bridges with her drug habit than she realized. Phoenix's mother sends her off to what she believes is a camp for troubled kids . . . but Phoenix discovers that she's been recruited for A.I.R. - Alien Investigation and Removal, an elite government agency charged with tracking down and destroying dangerous aliens - based on how well she fought with Ryan Stone, an agent who was in the woods that night. Because of her background with Onadyn, though, she's not even completely welcomed at the training camp. Mia Snow (the main character of the first adult Alien Huntress novel) is the only instructor who has confidence in Phoenix's abilities. All Phoenix wants to do now is prove her worth. But can she do that and get Ryan too?
Red Handed is yet another example of Gena Showalter's flexibility as a writer. I have never before come across a series that successfully blended adult and young adult books. Sherrilyn Kenyon tried it with the Chronicles of Nick, but the adult series was too far along so the YA series is missing too much backstory. Phoenix is great as a main character - yes, she's a former addict, but she wants to turn her life around and is making an effort to do so, so there isn't a depressing pall over her character. The relationships between Phoenix and Stone, Phoenix and Kitten, and Phoenix and Mia were all believable, especially Mia's after reading Awaken Me Darkly. Red Handed stands on its own, but for those who are interested in the series as a whole it adds to the backstory for the agents - how and why they were recruited, the details of training, how they become such badasses. This was a fun read!
Gena Showalter is also the author of the Lords of the Underworld, Atlantis, Tales of an Extraordinary Girl, and Intertwined series.