Tuesday, March 02, 2010
BEAUTIFUL CREATURES By Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. Camberwell, Penguin, 2010
Ethan has lived in the same small Southern town all his life and longs to escape. The town is full of people whose ancestors have been there since before the Civil War (known to the younger generation as the War Between The States and to the older residents as The War Of Northern Aggression). The school is full of the standard cheerleaders and sports players and there are only two small places to hang out after school.
Now there's a new girl in town. Lena is beautiful and intelligent and, naturally, gets on the wrong side of the cheerleaders, as heroines tend to do in these novels, but even the boys are avoiding her, because she is the niece of "Old Man Ravenwood", the town recluse.
Ethan is in love. But Lena is under a curse, caused by an ancestress who made a huge mistake - a curse that will take effect on her sixteenth birthday. Or perhaps it won't; her family is magically gifted and has been for centuries, but nobody knows what will happen on their birthday, what gift they will have or even whether they will become good or evil.
The days are passing, and unless Ethan and Lena can find out the truth about the beginning of the curse in time, they may not have a future together at all.
This is just the sort of novel teenagers are likely to devour. Despite the standard stuff about sixteenth birthdays and curses and horrible cheerleaders and evil, it has a few original touches. The story is seen from the boy's viewpoint and the girl's family aren't vampires. And nobody tries to persuade you there's anything scientific about it. The family is magical and there's a curse, right? Simple!
The book is thoroughly entertaining. It helps that one of the authors, Kami Garcia, has worked with teenagers.
I look forward to putting it into my library and watching the fighting over who gets to read it first.