Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: December 2009
Page Count: 563
My Rating: ★★★
Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.
Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.
In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.In-Depth Review:
I have mixed feelings about this book. Let me start by saying overall - I liked it a lot, and cant wait to read the next one. There were some low points to the book, but not enough that it took away from the story. When I was reading the review before I read this book, I saw some people nit-picking on the writing style. I'll address this by saying: WHAT?! Garcia and Stohl's writing styles are magnificent. I didnt have a single problem with their writing, detail, grammar - the editing was perfectly fine. I did have a few issues with some of the dialogue but this is something that I feel happens in every book, and doesnt bother me much.
When I started this book I decided to take notes, which ended up looking like one big run on sentence in one big running commentary. The first thing I wrote down when I started this book was why I couldnt figure out how Ethan and Lena went from passing eachother in the hall to Ethan running after her in a storm, taking her home and hanging out on the border of Ravenwood. Someone please tell me how this happens? I know they "feel like they know eachother" or whatever, but then further into the story, things get awkward and they act like they DONT know eachother that well. That was something that left me feeling a little weird while reading the story. A couple of things like this bothered me throughout, but I dont want their to be any spoilers, so I wont specify. But what I'm getting at is that I felt like they just jumped into a relationship, a story, a "we're in this together" with barely any time to get to know eachother.
I had a problem with the fact that Ethan seemed almost completely unafraid and eager to find things out, meanwhile Lena was sulking in her room and causing monsoons. What the hell Lena!? Grow up!
I didnt hate the book though, I actually enjoyed it very much. I thought it was really interesting finding out about Wate and Duchannes family trees and taking a few well described trips back to the Civil War. I flew through this book at first actually. It ended up taking me about a week and a half to read it but that was because of my schedule, not because of the slow pace of the book.
I very much enjoyed having this book written from Ethan's point of view. Some reader's didnt love this aspect because it was different. On the contrary, I liked this aspect a lot because it was refreshing, nice to have a different point of view, especially because I dont think I could have dealt with bratty Lena as the narrator. She was too busy being mad about not being a normal kid to grow and be a dynamic character. She was annoying, point blank. A few things were left unexplained that again I wont mention specifically, but I'm really hoping the next book goes more in depth.
I also loved that Lena writes all the time - on her hand, in her notebook, on her ceiling - as a writer, it was something I could relate to.
The last thing I have to address is the ending. I think that the ending could have been way worse and honestly leading up to the very last page, I thought it was going to be. I was expecting it to be anticlimactic, and trust me, it didnt end the way I expected it to and it confused me a lot, but I was pleased with the ending and anxious for what happens next. I just cant imagine being in Lena's shoes and being able to get through it.... I wont elaborate, but for those of you who have read it - I'm sure you agree.
Like I said, there were some low points in the book for me, but the authors made me feel Ethan and Lena's inner turmoil, I felt like I was IN the story. The plot and characters were so original and unique and they kept me wanting more every time I had to put the book down.
This one gets four stars (*see edit below) from me. I enjoyed it and cant wait to read the next one, and encourage fans of YA and supernatural novels to pick it up too!
Have any of you read this? What did you think? Do you agree or disagree? I'd love to hear what you think!
EDIT: After careful consideration of this book after reading this book, I've decided to drop the rating from a four-star to a three-star rating. I did enjoy the book, but shortly after moving on to another book, I realized I had little desire to continue on to the next book and was actually confused and annoyed about some aspects of this book. I did still enjoy the book, as my three star rating shows, but I didnt love it.