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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Review: Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus

Title: Shadow Hills
Author: Anastasia Hopcus
Genre: Young Adult
Release Date: 07/13/10
After her sister Athena's tragic death, it's obvious that grief-stricken Persephone "Phe" Archer no longer belongs in Los Angeles. Hoping to make sense of her sister's sudden demise and the cryptic dreams following it, Phe abandons her bubbly LA life to attend an uptight East Coast preparatory school in Shadow Hills, MA -- a school which her sister mysteriously mentioned in her last diary entry before she died.

Once there, Phe quickly realizes that something is deeply amiss in her new town. Not only does Shadow Hills' history boast an unexplained epidemic that decimated hundreds of its citizens in the 1700s, but its modern townies also seem eerily psychic, with the bizarre ability to bend metal. Even Zach -- the gorgeous stranger Phe meets and immediately begins to lust after -- seems as if he is hiding something serious. Phe is determined to get to the bottom of it. The longer she stays there, the more she suspects that her sister's untimely death and her own destiny are intricately linked to those who reside in Shadow Hills.

Plot: 3.5 Stars
There were many aspects to this novel that were fresh and exciting. The biggest thing: it was a paranormal young adult novel without a love triangle. Amazing, I know. Not that I have anything against love triangles, but it was nice to see a main character have one love interest. I also liked the paranormal aspect of the story. It was the little details that I enjoyed most, like how they attracted metal and could read a whole page in the blink of an eye. But there were also a few parts of the novel that fell short for me. For one thing, about halfway through, Phe just seems to forget she has a sister to be mourning. Plus, the whole plot with Hecate's Wheel needed more. It was mentioned about a third of the way in, and then didn't come up again until near the end when Phe just seemed to know what needed to be done. Nothing was really explained and the details were a bit spotty.

Pace: 4 Stars
This novel had it's ups and downs, but for the most part, it kept me interested and the story kept up a nice pace. I didn't really read anything quickly this month, so I can't really take that into consideration, but I think if the circumstances were different (in other words, I worked less this month) I probably would've finished this book in about two days.

Characters: 3.5 Stars
I enjoyed many of the characters in this novel, but it felt like many of them could've used with a bit more depth. There were many characters introduced early on that didn't end up playing nearly as big a part as it seemed like they would. I really enjoyed Phe as a main characters. Although I didn't know a lot of the music she listened to, I always enjoy when details like that are included. It took me a bit to get into Zach's character, but I blame that on my brother also being named Zack. He came across a little odd at first, but as we saw more and more of his character, I warmed up to him. Phe's friends were interesting and eclectic, but I wanted to see more of them.

Cover: 3 Stars
This cover confuses me. Although the colors are striking against the black cover, I don't really know what they stand for. I was hoping there might be a scene in the book that explained the cover at least a little, but that never happened. I almost didn't pick this book up because of the lackluster cover. There was nothing to draw me in, and I didn't know anything about the novel until I started seeing some reviews because I was never interested to click through and read the summary. Overall, there were many directions they probably could've gone in for the cover that would've portrayed the story much better.

Overall: 3.5 Stars

Disclosure: I bought this book for my own enjoyment.

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