When reluctant hometown boy Ethan Wait, a closet lover of Vonnegut and Salinger, dreams about a beautiful girl he can’t stand to lose, he writes it off as just a dream. Until he meets mysterious Lena Duchannes and is helplessly drawn to her, and the power she’s struggling to control. Set in Gatlin, South Carolina, this book tests the limits of Southern charm and gothic romance.
The course of true love never did run smooth.
Especially in a South Carolina backwater where “Yankee” is the ultimate insult and battles ensue over a blue-ribboned pecan pie.
Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl’s Young Adult Supernatural Romance, Beautiful Creatures, is so darn good, all you want to do is curl up on your wrap-around porch with your copy, and of course, a slice of that pecan pie.
A Southern girl myself, I was instantly entranced by the ring of truth in Gatlin, South Carolina and its inhabitants. “Ma’am,” could be the most said word in the book, and when Ethan, the narrator and main character, explains how one properly refers to The Civil War in Gatlin, you just have to chuckle. (FYI – Under the age of 60, it’s the “War between the States.” Over 60, it’s the “War of Northern Aggression.”)
The supernatural portion of Beautiful Creatures is creepy, fascinating and haunting, and is pretty much summed up on page 221:
“This was Gatlin. Not the Gatlin I thought I knew, but some other Gatlin that had apparently been hiding in plain sight all along. A town where the girl I liked was from a long line of Casters, my housekeeper was a Seer who read chicken bones in the swamp and summoned the spirits of her dead ancestors, and even my dad acted like a vampire.”
What’s not to like? Ethan is irresistible with his gentlemanly demeanor and belief that love conquers all. Lena is instantly likeable for her strength under fire and her belief that fate is inevitable.
Amma, Ethan’s housekeeper, is a force to be reckoned with – a woman who runs her household with an iron fist and bears a fierce love for the boy she raised.
Gatlin itself is a character – on the surface a typical small Southern town, but its secrets, and foundation, are slowly revealed as being more than what they seem.
Casters, or witches, are cursed in Lena’s family – at the age of 16, they are claimed by the dark or the light, completely against their will and contrary to their desires.
Garcia and Stohl count down the days to Lena’s birthday and build suspense from the very first chapter: not only is every chapter dated, but also Lena writes the number of days until her 16th birthday on her hand.
The suspense is done so well, you feel it yourself, and you’re just as eager as Ethan and Lena to find a solution before the clock runs out.
Beautiful Creatures sucks you in and you’re not released till the last tale is told and the last second ticks.
If you have already read Beautiful Creatures or plan to do so after reading this review, the followup, Beautiful Darkness, will be released Oct. 12! Learn more about both books at www.somelovesarecursed.com