Monday, August 16, 2010

Shadow Hills

 Persephone "Phe" Archer has been having very disturbing dreams ever since her older sister, Athena, died. Stranger still is the letter that arrives for Athena months after her death from Denevish Prep school in Shadow Hills, which happens to be the subject of Athena's last dream diary entry.  Phe is drawn to figure out why she is dreaming so vividly of a place on the other side of the country from her.

So Phe leaves L.A. and enrolls in Denevish only to find that Shadow Hills has a past shrouded in mystery and very secretive locals.  Though she's never been anywhere near Shadow Hills she knows she is connected to it somehow.  As Phe learns more about Shadow Hills, she learns more about her own destiny, but she also gets closer to danger.

Oh look, a book I didn't really like.  This doesn't happen very often because I read things with a fairly open mind and with one of Ranganathan's 5 library science principles in the forefront of my conscience: every book it's reader.  So even if a book isn't great literature I'm probably going to like it still. This is Anastasia Hopcus' first novel and I'm not sure she's got the knack of writing YA fiction for young adults yet.  Phe is only 15, but seems like she should be 18 at least.  I'm all for a willing suspension of disbelief, but I don't know any 15-year-old girls who aren't totally self-absorbed.

I also found the narrative to be a bit bumpy and some of the secondary characters were just in the way of the story.  Others seemed like they were going to be very important in the beginning but then faded halfway through, which made me feel kind of sorry for them.  It also bugs the living daylights out of me when YA authors feel compelled to add details that make it seem like they want the reader to know that they know what's cool.  Hopcus did this a lot with clothes & music, particularly at the beginning of the book.

Or maybe I'm just really cranky today.

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