This is Week 10 of a 12-Week series of blog posts reviewing new young adult books. Check back each Monday for a new review.
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl is a page-turning story of star-crossed teenage love with a Southern gothic twist and a side of magic.
In the town of Gatlin, South Carolina, everyone knows everybody's business and nothing exciting ever happens, unless you count the annual re-enactment of a local Civil War battle. Unbeknownst to the residents of Gatlin (at least most residents) beneath the thick Southern accents and Spanish moss lurks a whole other magical world, one of hidden underground libraries, voodoo and deadly family curses.
Lena Duchannes and Ethan Wate bridge the gap between these two worlds - two worlds that were never meant to meet.
Lena is the new girl in town and is getting noticed for all the wrong reasons. She's recently moved into Ravenwood, an old plantation house that's the home of Macon Ravenwood, town recluse. It also doesn't help that she drives a hearse to school and has a decidedly different sense of fashion than the other girls at Stonewall Jackson High. She also happens to be a Caster, a member of a magical race, and she's just growing into her powers and learning how to use and control them. It's definitely a work in progress. When she gets mad hurricane force storms seem to appear out of nowhere and windows often shatter. On top of all this, her sixteenth birthday is approaching and that's when she is "claimed" as either a Light or Dark Caster, and the possibility of going Dark is really stressing her out.
Ethan's got a lot on his plate too. His mother died in an accident less than a year ago, and now his dad sleeps all day and keeps himself locked in his office all night supposedly writing a novel. Amma, housekeeper and surrogate mother (and voodoo practitioner on the side) is the only constant for Ethan and her home cooking and love are the only things holding the household together.
Although Ethan has never met Lena he knows her as soon as he sets eyes on her. She's the girl that's been haunting his dreams - his nightmares - all summer. She's the one he sees in the visions that seem so real he wakes up in bed drenched and covered in dirt. Hers is the voice he hears screaming out to him night after night.
As Ethan and Lena become closer, this telepathic connection they share grows stronger. They communicate without speaking, and they both continue to share the same recurring visions of fire, anguish, and death. The visions become stronger and more frequent, seemingly transporting them both back to the Civil War at a pivotal moment in time for two of their ancestors. As Lena's sixteenth birthday looms, they struggle to unravel the mystery of these visions in the hopes of avoiding a tragic fate for them both.
The movie rights for Beautiful Creatures have been optioned by Warner Brothers and the second book in the Caster Chronicles, Beautiful Darkness, is coming out October 12, so you're sure to hear much more about this series.
If you were a fan of Libba Bray's series beginning with A Great and Terrible Beauty, you'll definitely want give Beautiful Creatures a try.