12 January 2010
First YA Book of the Year
My first YA book for the year is a bust. I wanted to like Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. I was looking forward to it, put it on my library list as soon as i saw it was on order, even friended the book on Facebook. I just couldn't manage to like it.
Gatlin is a small, insular southern town. Our Hero, Ethan Wate, is the son of two writers; his father from Gatlin, his mother an outsider who has passed away at the beginning of the novel. He's been having strange dreams for months about a girl he can't save from danger. On the first day of his sophomore year he meets this girl. Lena has just moved to town to live with her uncle, the rich town shut in, Macon Ravenwood. While Ethan knows she's different than the kids he's grown up with, he finds out very quickly she's got special powers.
Ethan finds out Lena is a Caster. She's approaching her 16th birthday (and apparently driving without a license!) when she will be Chosen to become Light or Dark. That bit, the Light and Dark stuff, isn't really explained. She and Ethan become close; they can communicate with each other through telepathy, they see visions when they touch an old locket they've found. They fall in love and try to find a way to make sure Lena goes to the Light.
I guess it was just too cliched. it had all the goofy "small town life" cliches, mixed with a few southern ones. And the characters were too young. Most high school students at the start of their sophomore year are 15, not 16. They can't drive. They aren't usually the starters on the basketball team or the most popular kids in school. Then there was the bit about Ethan's mom's death. We never hear exactly what happened but it is implied it was a car accident. But Ethan drives the car around! Most car crashes that cause a death also total out the car, or at least make it undriveable until repaired. Add that to the fact that the adults all hide things from the teens, in the name of "it's for their own good", which always totally irks me out, and it isn't a book i like.
So overall, i give it a 3. If you loved Twilight series and didn't really notice any cliches or continuity errors you may really like Beautiful Creatures.
Other opinions, just a sampling as this book has been blowing up blogs for the last 5 months! Karin's Book Nook, Juicilicioussss Reviews, Babbling about Books, YA Book Central, Hope's Bookshelf, Steph Su Reads, Persnickety Snark.