Monday, August 20, 2012

Spellbound


Following a nearly fatal car accident, sixteen-year-old Emma moves to New York City to live with her aunt and younger cousin.  She is to attend a prestigious private school there, and she isn't quite sure how she feels about that.  But her younger cousin Ashley is determined to help her transition be as painless as possible.  There aren't many friendly students there at first, but Emma is immediately struck by Brendan, a very good-looking boy in her class.  There seems to be a connection between them, something that Emma can't explain.  When she sees that there is a drawing pinned up in his locker that has the same exact image that is on the necklace her brother gave her years ago, before he died, Emma knows that Brendan is hiding something from her.

Visions from the past that come to her in dreams only confuse matters, and when a new friend at school confesses to being involved in witchcraft, Emma allows her to try to help.  What they discover is fascinating and alarming.

This is a story of star-crossed lovers and history repeating itself.  What saves it from being a run-of-the-mil paranormal YA romance is the vivid characterization and the skillfully unfolding tale of the present unraveling into the past.  Some of the characters, in particular the antagonists, were a little too malevolent to be believed (and I am getting a bit tired of the beautiful, nasty, conniving beauty queen that seems to appear in every novel of this genre), but the developing relationships among the other characters made up for that weakness.  This book will be an easy sell to teens at my library, particularly with that compelling cover.

Spellbound by Cara Lynn Schultz (Harlequin Teen, 2011)

Also reviewed at:
Annette's Book Spot "The story is a realistic portrayal of how difficult high school life can be with different factions and the motivations of hormonal teens. At times, their behavior may go a bit over the top, but I still enjoyed the suspense and action."
A Novel Paradise:  "I’m usually skeptical of the” starcrossed lovers” kind of thing, but one thing that made the story work for me was how believable the characters were."
Reading with Tequila:  "Spellbound manages to navigate some tricky plot lines surprisingly well, feeling fresh but never over the top."

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