Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (September 14 2010)
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 592 pages
Summary (taken from Goodreads):
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.
Honestly, I probably would have loved this book more without the romance factor. I’m getting rather tired of teen books that have the love-at-first-sight-I-can’t-live-without-you relationships going on. It’s very unrealistic and melodramatic. And it tends to make the main character whiney and mopey, because that’s what happens to a person when their “soul-mate” doesn’t want to be with them, apparently.
The characters were also seriously underdeveloped. For a book of this length, I have a higher standard for development but this one just didn’t come through. Ethan’s friends were ridiculous, as were most of the students (and parents and teachers) that were introduced. Most of the story worked off of stereotypes and clichés. That counts for the characters and the southern setting. The only part that I found unique was the magic. These authors write about witches rather than vampires, werewolves, fallen angels, or whatever. I greatly appreciated this and it was set up very nicely. I’m not going to say anymore, because figuring out exactly how the magic works for Lena’s family is a major part of the story. I will say that wanting to learn more about Lena, her family, and their magic is what got me through the book.
As for the story in general: I thought it was okay. There were parts that dragged, but there were also parts where I couldn’t put the book down. (The pacing could have been much better.) I did enjoy the flashbacks to the past and the history that was tied in with the Wate and Duchannes family. I thought this could have been done better, but was relatively satisfied with it.
Conclusion: It’s an okay book. A lot of people love it, but I thought that if it were condensed and then the characters were rounded out a little, it would have been much better. It has potential; it just doesn’t live up to it. But, if you’re in the mood for a semi-intriguing story about witches and star-crossed lovers, then this is the book for you.