Reading Level: Young Adult
# of Pages: Hardback 576 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (December 1, 2009)
There were no surprises in Gatlin County.
We were pretty much the epicenter of the middle of nowhere.
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 inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.
In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.
I began hearing all kinds of wonderful things about this book a few months ago from fellow book bloggers and marked it. Little did I know that when I read it…. I would be completely blown away! This has to be one of the best books I have read in a while. Not only could I completely relate to the southern dialect (being only a few hours from where the book is set in Charleston, SC area) but also to the characters. Lena, Ethan, and even the infamous Link are written so beautifully that readers will find themselves cheering them on, feeling their emotions, and thinking that they could walk right through the door at any moment they are so real. I love books with well developed characters but those books seem to be few and far between these days. Yes, there are many books out there, but very few of them fully develop a character yet leave you wanting to know more and giving you just enough to make guesses about their personalities and create your own idea of who they truly are. This book definitely does that!
The plot is also very original which, in a time of vampires, werewolves, and anything else running rampant, is very refreshing. It is funny to me that I am reading so many paranormal books now yet when I was in middle school and high school these are the very ones I was not interested in. I guess my “tastes” have become more developed! Lena and Ethan have to face obstacles that teens today face but on a whole other level. They are in love but the hurdles that they have to overcome include a mysterious curse, a tarot card reading woman who loves her Red Hots (mmmm… love those), an uncle who is the Boo Radley of the town, and a house I would love to step foot in one day. Throughout the story you are completely drawn in and want to know how Lena and Ethan are going to overcome the obstacle that they are facing now (the perfect little cheerleaders or Link’s crazy mama) and are continuously wondering if one of them is going to do something to mess it all up. What I love about this book is that we are hearing the story from Ethan’s point of view. I love a good female lead like most, but it was refreshing to hear this from Ethan’s perspective. Sometimes female leads are whiny and it drives me nuts… some of you know what I am talking about…. but Ethan was wonderful. I do not in any way think that Lena is whiny and hope that maybe in the future books we can hear more from her!
I loved everything about this book and it is definitely a must read for everyone! I guess it is going to be another one that I won’t be able to keep in my classroom! Not a problem though… that’s what a classroom library is for!
Make sure to visit Kami and Margaret here and come join the Caster Girls when you finish the book and talk about all kind of things, get the inside scoop, and win cool stuff. Make sure to check and see when Kami and Margaret are coming to your area and GO! I know they are going to be in Alpharetta, GA on January 23rd and I am definitely going! Yeah!! Just for the fun of it, I will post my pal Vania’s book trailer again. Make sure to check out her great stuff too!