Author(s): Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Genre: YA paranormal romance
Pages: Hardback, 563
Opening Lines: "There are two kinds of people in our town. 'The stupid and thee stuck,' my father had affectionately classified our neighbors. 'The ones who are bound to stay or too dumb to go. Everyone else finds a way out.'"
"There are no surprisesin Gatlin County
At least, that's what I thought.
Turns out, I couldn't have
been more wrong.
"There was a curse.
There was a girl
And in the end,
there was a grave"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 drawn to her inexplicably and determined to uncover the connection between them.
"In a town with no surprises, one secret count change everything."~ Jacket copy
Thoughts: Honestly, after reading reviews on Goodreads, I wasn't sure what to think of this book. I was kind of expecting some poorly written book with an unbelievable male lead. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that to be very far from the truth.
The book follows Ethan Wate, who was born and raised in Gatlin, NC. After generations of Wates living in Gatlin, Ethan is considered one of the town's sons. However, even with this long standing connection to the town, he wants nothing more than to leave for college. Aside from traveling Civil War battlefields with his mother, he has known nothing outside of the small, close-knit community. However, his world is sent into an uproar when Lena Duchannes moves in with her uncle Macon Ravenwood, the town shut-in. Not only does her now live in the mysterious haunted house and drive around his hearse, she is completely different than anyone at the school. And Ethan is about to find out how different. These differences trace back to an old family connection and are bound to change his life forever.
I really loved the dark mystery offered by the deep South. The addition of the folk magic along side the very strict religious beliefs really added a lot of depth to the story. I felt that Ethan was a believable and likable character. The authors did a good job adding depth to the supporting characters without them taking over the story. However, my favorite character was Macon. When he stood up for Lena in front of the disciplinary hearing, I found myself cheering for him and laughing!
On the whole, I really enjoyed the story. It really held my attention, and I wanted to know what was going on. Aside from the curse, I wish there was more connection between Genvieve and Ethan. Since she was watching the grave, I felt she had a little more stake int he story than she was truly given. Also, I felt the whole winter formal scene was a little too Carry-esque for my taste. Granted, I understand that it is probably typical high school, but the authors could have been more original. In addition, during the hearing, I felt it was unbelievable that Mrs. Lincoln somehow got her hands on records that I thought would be sealed because Lena is a juvenile. Although, considering how the whole Mrs. Lincoln fiasco turns out, that might explain it.
Once the claiming was done, I really liked how the book closed. I get tired of the canned romantic ending, and this felt like more of an end to me. Looking on Amazon, I see the sequel is out and, frankly, it kind of scares me. For some reason, I felt the book didn't necessarily need more. However, I am kind of itching to get my hands on it ;) Maybe a trip to Barnes & Noble is in order!
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
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