Garcia, Kami and Margaret Stohl. Beautiful Creatures. New York: Little, Brown and Company, December 2009. ARC Provided by Baker & Taylor.
Ethan Wate is counting the days until he can leave Gatlin, SC. Since his mom’s death, small town life has been unbearable. So people won’t think he’s odd, he hides his love of reading under his bed.
Lena Duchannes is counting the days until her sixteenth birthday. The numbers are on her hand. As the niece of the local recluse, Lena doesn’t exactly fit in around Gatlin.
Against the odds and their friends’ and families’ wishes, Ethan and Lena become friends. The strength of their friendship causes Lena to reveal the importance of her sixteenth birthday. Lena is caster (think witch, but don’t say it. It’s such a cliché.) Her family was cursed during the Civil War. On her birthday, Lean will be claimed by either good (Light) or evil (Dark). She has no choice. She fears becoming dark.
Lena and Ethan begin a quest to break the curse. They become more than friends. As Lena’s powers develop, the town ostracizes her. Can they break the curse in time? Will Lena be Light or Dark?
What I thought: I couldn’t put this book down. The plot is unique. It’s a lengthy book (600 plus pages), but every word was chosen with care. This is one of the best books I’ve read in a while. The Southern setting (and hence atmosphere) is inspired. For some reason, (I would hazard all our superstitions), paranormal stuff works better in the South. I liked that Ethan was the narrator. The authors captured him perfectly. His voice as brought out by their writing style reminded me of Tyler in Laurie Halse Anderson’s Twisted. I won’t give away the ending, but I’m hoping for a sequel. In summary, a fantastic book.