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More About This Title Ascendant


When I was twelve, my mother disappeared. I was the first person to never find her. I'm sixteen now and she has never been found, alive or dead. I'm not the girl I should have been. When Charlotte Stevens, bright but failing, is sent to stay at her mother's childhood home in Somerset England her life is changed forever. While exploring the lavish family manor, Gaersum Aern, Charlotte discovers a stone puzzle box that contains a pentagram necklace and a note from her mother-clues to her family's strange past and her mother's disappearance. Charlotte must try to solve the puzzle box, decipher her mother's old journals, and figure out who is working to derail her efforts-and why. The family manor contains many secrets and hidden histories, keys to the elegant mystery Charlotte called mom and hopefully, a trail to finding her.


Rebecca Taylor is the author of ASCENDANT, winner of the 2014 Colorado Book Award and a Library Journal National Self-e Select title; MIDHEAVEN; THE EXQUISITE AND IMMACULATE GRACE OF CARMEN ESPINOZA, and her latest release, AFFECTIVE NEEDS.

She obtained her BA in psychology and sociology from the University of Colorado, Denver and her Ed.S in school psychology from the University of Northern Colorado. In addition to writing, she teaches at Regis University in their MFA program.
You can learn more about Rebecca and her work at:


Taylor's new YA trilogy begins when a teen investigates her mother's disappearance while visiting the family's ancestral home in England.

Sixteen-year-old Charlotte Stevens of Venice Beach, California, has just been caught plagiarizing. She downloaded and turned in a college essay for her Richard II assignment in English class. More embarrassing, her father is the bestselling mystery writer Simon Stevens. When the vice principal meets him, however, she finds him falling-down drunk. Simon acknowledges that he and his daughter haven't been doing well since his wife, Elizabeth, vanished four years ago. He decides to dry out in a clinic and sends Charlotte to Somerset, England, to stay with Elizabeth's brother, Nigel. Before meeting her uncle, Charlotte encounters Caleb and Sophie, the teen offspring of Nigel's housekeeper. They help situate her at the sumptuous Gaersum Aern estate, which has an ouroboros carved above the entrance. She also learns that wealthy scion Hayden Wriothesley, cousin to the royal family, has been tasked with her entertainment. Later, while staying in her mother's old bedroom, Charlotte discovers a puzzle box and a diary. Inside the box is a pentagram and cryptic note from her mother, and the diary reveals that Elizabeth had been infatuated with Hayden's father, Emerick, as a girl. Taylor (Tick Tock: Seven Tales of Time, 2016, etc.) unspools a posh, literary mystery. As elements like Shakespeare's true identity and Francis Bacon's lofty ideals enter the fray, Charlotte is torn between the bookish Caleb and the magnetic Hayden, whose Aston Martin "felt like an energy chamber, both exciting and sickening." Taylor's insight into the teen mind is as pointed as it is hilarious; the youngsters often act as though "being sixteen were a disease they needed to hide." As journals are explored and graves are uncovered, the central mystery gains traction. Meanwhile, romance takes full flight, and Taylor's superb characterizations leave readers guessing who's right for Charlotte (until one of them says, "I will be your first...then I'll be your only"). Some truly risqué moments gear this volume toward older readers.

An emotionally robust, intellectually vibrant start to a new YA trilogy.--Kirkus