Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (Little, Brown, Dec. 1, 2009, 576 p.)
Product Description: There were no surprises in Gatlin County.
We were pretty much the epicenter of the middle of nowhere.
At least, that's what I thought.
Turns out, I couldn't have been more wrong.
There was a curse.
There was a girl.
And in the end, there was a grave.
Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.
In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.
Amazon Review: Ethan Wate is struggling to hide his apathy for his high school "in" crowd in small town Gatlin, South Carolina, until he meets the determinedly "out" Lena Duchannes, the girl of his dreams (literally--she has been in his nightmares for months). What follows is a smart, modern fantasy--a tale of star-crossed lovers and a dark, dangerous secret. Beautiful Creatures is a delicious southern Gothic that charms you from the first page, drawing you into a dark world of magic and mystery until you emerge gasping and blinking, wondering what happened to the last few hours (and how many more you're willing to give up). To tell too much of the plot would spoil the thrill of discovery, and believe me, you will want to uncover the secrets of this richly imagined dark fantasy on your own. --Daphne Durham
My Review: I loved it! I liked that the main character was a 16-year-old boy who reads. I liked the descriptions and the atmosphere. I felt sad for Ethan that he was so alone after his mother's death and his father's virtual abandonment of him in his grief. I like the character of Amma. Lena's Uncle Macon and Ethan's mom's best friend Marian (now there's a librarian!) were characters that will stay in my mind for a long time. Ethan's great aunts were a hoot. The book was filled with fascinating characters both good and evil.
I liked that there were hidden depths to the town of Gatlin that Ethan becomes aware of when he meets Lena and they come together to try to solve her problem. I like that Lena wants to be normal even though she is anything but and that Ethan tries to give her the normal activities that she is craving. I liked the idea of the library under the DAR and the secret passages.
It was a gripping novel. I couldn't put it down.