Young Adult - Adventure
354 Pages
Reviewed on 05/21/2023
Buy on Amazon

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Free Book Program, which is open to all readers and is completely free. The author will provide you with a free copy of their book in exchange for an honest review. You and the author will discuss what sites you will post your review to and what kind of copy of the book you would like to receive (eBook, PDF, Word, paperback, etc.). To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Review Exchange Program, which is open to all authors and is completely free. Simply put, you agree to provide an honest review an author's book in exchange for the author doing the same for you. What sites your reviews are posted on (B&N, Amazon, etc.) and whether you send digital (eBook, PDF, Word, etc.) or hard copies of your books to each other for review is up to you. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email, and be sure to describe your book or include a link to your Readers' Favorite review page or Amazon page.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Donation Program, which was created to help nonprofit and charitable organizations (schools, libraries, convalescent homes, soldier donation programs, etc.) by providing them with free books and to help authors garner more exposure for their work. This author is willing to donate free copies of their book in exchange for reviews (if circumstances allow) and the knowledge that their book is being read and enjoyed. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email. Be sure to tell the author who you are, what organization you are with, how many books you need, how they will be used, and the number of reviews, if any, you would be able to provide.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Oversight is a work of fiction in the adventure and supernatural subgenres. It is suitable for the young adult reading audience and contains mild scenes of violence but nothing too graphic. In this work penned by author Dennis Batchelder, we join our protagonist Zelly at a tumultuous time in her life. Aged seventeen, Zelly knows she has two more years to survive until she can ascend to power in the ancient order of Soul Identity, an organization that deals with past lives and memories. But when Zelly discovers that her closest friend Ying might be trying to kill her before her ascension, a journey into her own previous lives reveals even more shocking revelations, but her past might just help her survive the future.

Author Dennis Batchelder has crafted a highly original concept for this thrilling contemporary supernatural novel, so much so that the past-life elements blend into the realistic emotional plotline seamlessly. It’s easy to believe in the world Zelly inhabits, and YA readers will find themselves immediately immersed and gripped by her complex relationship with Ying and the pressures and gifts that Soul Identity brings to her life. I for one found that the dialogue was particularly well used, not just in its ease of explaining complex plot hooks without the need for a wall of prose, but also in the relatability and authenticity that it has to the true teen voice. Zelly sounds like any other seventeen-year-old girl tasked with the impossible. Readers of Oversight will find themselves rooting for her and sitting on the edge of their seats as they race to this excellent novel’s startling conclusion. A recommended read indeed.

Cecelia Hopkins

Oversight by Dennis Batchelder presents Zelly’s fear that Ying will take advantage of her Overseer powers to eliminate her peers before they turn nineteen. A preliminary demonstration of “Vike” technology allows Zelly to experience part of the life of one of her soul ancestors, and she discovers a dangerous connection between Origen and Lillia. When Ying makes an ominous speech at the oath-taking ceremony, Scott, Val, Simon, and Zelly barely escape being detained by security guards. Where can they go and how can Simon and Zelly prevent a dangerous take-over? Ying appears to be the villainess of the piece, but could she also be a pawn in a more sinister movement?

Oversight by Dennis Batchelder was an exhilarating adventure showcasing young adult protagonists. The world-building was complex, invoking variations of the past, present, and plans for the future. I was entranced by Zelly’s glimpse into history and admired the coding skills that allowed her to manipulate the Vike technology. The combination of equipment and shamanism made the overseers seem like secret-service techno-mages. The road trip aspect of the story was excellent as the teens had to rely upon their wits to evade adult conspirators. The places where they stayed and points on the map became essential maneuvers in eluding capture. I liked the growing dynamic of trust and affection that developed between Simon and Zelly. I was gratified when initial perceptions had to be re-evaluated as more information became available. Oversight by Dennis Batchelder provides a smooth and captivating reading experience for fans of young adult fantasy and coming-of-age stories.

Emma Megan

Oversight by Dennis Batchelder is a gripping young adult adventure that follows Zelly, Ying, and Simon, who are about to become overseers. Zelly can't wait to turn nineteen to become an overseer. But she thinks Ying wants her and Simon dead to run Soul Identity alone. Thus, Zelly must find another way to protect herself, as Val, the acting CEO of Soul Identity, refuses to help her because she doesn't believe that Ying is trying to eliminate her future peers. When Zelly learns about a vike portal, a new technology that helps people follow their soul-line ancestors around and experience them with all their senses, she wants to try it. She thinks this new technology can help her outwit Ying by vicariously observing her soul line ancestors and learning some useful tricks. But, is Ying indeed after her?

Oversight by Dennis Batchelder is a magnificent young adult science fiction novel. It's the sort of book you cannot put down as it's beautifully orchestrated and written. It's also intense, inspiring, and deeply satisfying. In this young adult tale, Dennis Batchelder explores concepts of friendship, interpretations, past lives, learning from the past, and growing into one’s destiny. Batchelder offers plenty of adventure and intrigue mixed with danger and a strong touch of science fiction. Zelly is a relatable character to any reader suffering from anxiety, jealousy, confusion, or imposter syndrome. Oversight is a book you don’t want to miss. This tale of friendship, betrayal, and destiny will definitely captivate the hearts and minds of young adult readers.

Sheena Monnin

Oversight by Dennis Batchelder takes the reader on a fantastic adventure into the depths of Soul Identity, a generations-old organization of people who have soul ancestors that are linked throughout history. People in Soul Identity serve as overseers in business, banking, and strategic positions globally. When Ying, Zelly, and Simon were young, they were taken from their families and eventually put in the care of Val and Scott. Intrigue builds as Ying approaches her nineteenth birthday, and is soon to receive her chance to be an overseer. Zelly is determined to stay alive despite multiple unknown forces seemingly working against her, even possibly Ying herself. The trio dives into their pasts and uncovers startling truths about their present lives and the possibilities of what their future could hold, depending on the choices they make.

Oversight by Dennis Batchelder is a fun, adventurous read full of mystery and action. I loved the characters and the story idea of being able to go back in time along ribbons of light that hold the life stories of ancestors. The two main characters, Ying and Zelly, start out by working against each other and eventually find their way toward peace after several harrowing experiences, which made for a great plot. There are intricate details, fast-paced action, plot twists, and surprises in each chapter. I can see young adults and also adults enjoying the book and connecting with the characters. The plot is layered and will intrigue and captivate the reader. The writing is elevated and the story concludes in a satisfying way.

Anne-Marie Reynolds

Oversight by Dennis Batchelder is an adventure story aimed at younger readers. Seventeen-year-old Zelly is not just a computer geek living in Seattle. She's also a reincarnated Soul Identity leader, one of just three left in the world. Soul Identity is ancient, an organization set up to pass memories and fortunes onto a person's future self; provided she and her two friends reach 19, they'll attain their power. The night before Ying's birthday, Zelly discovers that Ying wants to kill her, and when they come across a Vike portal, Zelly learns that Ying is not who Zelly thought she was. Instead, she learns they have been rivals for centuries, and Zelly must fight for survival. Using the Vike to predict the future, Zelly heads back to her past lives, but things she learns turn everything she thought she knew on its head – even her soul is under threat. Can good finally triumph over evil, or will this final battle prove too much for Zelly?

Oversight by Dennis Batchelder is a fun tale of friendship and betrayal, a coming-of-age story with a touch of the paranormal. It's got plenty of action in it, with lots of twists and turns along the way and a decent plot that will catch the attention of its readers. The characters are nicely developed throughout the story, their backstories gradually coming out, allowing us to understand who they are and why the rivalry exists in the first place. This may be a story of an ancient organization with reincarnated beings, but it's also a story of how friendship can soon turn bad when one party is betrayed, teaching readers how to deal with the inevitable as they grow up. A fun story, I think this will go down well with teens and young adults who want something different to read.