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Fallen by Lauren Kate

In Lauren Kate’s Fallen, Luce starts life at her new boarding school with a secret. Well, to be honest, most kids there have secrets. The Sword & Cross school is hardly a swanky prep school, with doors open to anyone with enough cash. Rather, it’s a reform school for the hardboiled repeat offenders who really have no where else to go, except behind bars. Luce has been court-ordered to attend The Sword & Cross after the mysterious death of her boyfriend in a fire, where she was the only other person present.

Luce already has a tarnished past, having complained of seeing dark shapes since early childhood, which lead to years of psychiatrist appointments and anti-psychotic medication. She has always seen the shadows: “No one knew about the murky shapes she sometimes saw in the darkness. They’d always come to her.” However, Luce learns early on that no one else can see them, and so tries to keep her fear to herself. Unfortunately, the shadows make things happen, things that can hurt other people, like her doomed boyfriend Trevor.

At Sword & Cross, Luce falls in with a host of interesting characters, from outspoken Arriane, self-assured Cam, and  devastatingly handsome (but entirely disdainful) Daniel. Luce’s attraction to Daniel is inexplicably magnetic, and he goes far out of his way to stay away from her. Dashing Cam gallantly courts Luce, but he seems strangely at odds with her group of friends. The setting of the novel is definitely Southern Gothic, complete with a creepy cemetery where Luce often finds herself.

Without giving too much away, I can “reveal” that there are plenty of supernatural elements here, lurking under the façade of the real world. Fans of Twilight by Stephenie Meyer and City of Bones by Cassandra Clare should enjoy this book. Torment follows this book in the planned trilogy.