Kami Garci & Margaret Stohl
|My Rating: 4 Stars|
Initial Thoughts: Ends with an "wow!"
Summary (from Goodreads):
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.
I decided to read this book because there's a lot of hype...and I wanted to read it before seeing the movie (which I haven't seen yet). I have to admit, the book started very slowly, and I was wondering what all the hype was actually about...because honestly? I wasn't hyped. I was okay, not hyped.
Of course, this book starts out with something agents and editors and "those kind of people" tell authors never to start their books with: a dream. So, right off the bat, this book throws it in the face of convention. I admit, I'm not a fan of starting that way either. Almost feels like cheating, ya know?
Anyhoo. I love the voice of Ethan. I love reading books told from the dude's point of view. It's actually quite refreshing in YA fantasy books, which typically portray perfect female teenagers who never do anything wrong and get perfect grades and are never, ever naughty. I like it when my characters have, well, a little character. Nothing says boring like perfection.
Anyhoo. Ethan's popular, good looking, has his issues at home, has his best friend (whom I love), and his housekeeper/grandma figure who tells it like it is (whom I also love) and likes to dabble in voo doo, is in with with southern belle barbie dolls in his small is-it-even-on-a-map town...but what I like about Ethan is that though he has it all, he questions why he has it all. He's not happy with it all. He wants O.U.T. of that one-trick-pony town.
Let's introduce Lena, the new girl in town. And of course, she is exactly opposite of the little southern belle barbie dolls that Ethan's grown up with. Ethan and Lena have this strange connection, and while she fights it, he fights *for* it.
There's romance, there's snobbery, there's mean-ness, and when I say mean, the women in that town can be incredibly cruel. It's that cruelty that has you rooting for Lena and kinda hoping someone will kick in some barbie doll's teeth (and no, it doesn't get violent like that...words hurt more than ass-kicking).
So while the first 100 pages or so were 'eh' for me (basically, 'eh' means that I can put it down and do other things...which I did...often), the 2nd half of the book more than makes up for it. The 2nd half of the book was 'wow!"...and I *couldn't* put it down. The 2nd half of the book was hype-worthy.