Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Review: Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus
Persephone “Phe” Archer transfers to Devenish Prep at the start of her junior year in order to figure out why her older sister mentioned the school in her diary the day before she died. Located in the small town of Shadow Hills, Massachusetts, this preppy boarding school is highly divided between haughty, genius townies and more average boarding students.
Phe meets and falls for a gorgeous townie student, Zach, who seems to have mysterious powers and hold the secrets to this strange town. As Zach and Phe grow closer and Phe learns more about Shadow Hills, however, little does she realize the extent of her connection with Shadow Hills, and the fact that she’s putting her life in danger…
If you can’t get enough of true love romances set in paranormal plots, but are craving something beyond vampires, SHADOW HILLS will be a great read for you. Though flawed, it contains endearing characters and a well-formed supernatural mystery that will suck you in.
Just when you thought the paranormal genre was all out of fresh ideas, along comes Anastasia Hopcus. The supernatural mystery behind the town of Shadow Hills is a delectably unique mixture of Wicca, witchcraft, mythology, and superpowers, wrapped up in a believable contemporary setting. Hopcus reaches back several centuries and even across an ocean to chart the progression of the supernatural element in an entirely plausible manner that I appreciated.
The characters are, for the most part, gutsy and funny, and thank goodness for Phe not being a boring, spineless protagonist. Phe does not hesitate to break a few rules and go out there to find the answers she wants. Her boarding school friends provide lighthearted and humorous dialogue exchanges whenever the supernatural plot threatens to take over with its melodrama, though Zach is a little too perfect to be credible heart candy (he’s hot! he’s smart! he’s romantic! he’s protective! *swoon*), and the villains run the risk of being caricatures.
The binaries between good and evil are a bit too black-and-white for me, but that won’t bother most readers, as they’ll be too captivated by the romance and suspense to do much outside thinking. SHADOW HILLS freshens up an oversaturated YA genre with a believable romance and interesting take on the supernatural in the town’s history.
Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl (Beautiful Creatures)
Laurie Faria Stolarz
Bree Despain (The Dark Divine)
Alexandra Bracken (Brightly Woven)
Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Cover discussion: 3 out of 5 - I might be in the minority when I say I'm not that enamored of it. Really, it could be referring to many other paranormal books.
EgmontUSA / July 13, 2010 / Hardcover / 400pp. / $17.99
Book received from ARC tour; other review copy received from publisher.