Authors: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (Hachette Book Group)
Released: December 2009
Genre: YA Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
When Lena Duchannes moves to the never-changing town of Gatlin, she creates quite a stir, not only because she's new, but because she is the niece of the town shut-in, the craziest man in town. But Ethan Wate is captivated by her, and despite her attempts to push him away, befriends her, making everyone else in this tradition-bound town turn on him for "turning" on them. To make matters worse, neither Ethan's nor Lena's families want to see this friendship - and then, of course, there are all the weird things that are happening. Even before Lena moved to town, Ethan had been having extremely vivid dreams about her - dreams that had him waking up wet, with mud all over him. When Lena tells Ethan that her family is "Casters," he is not all that surprised. But there are things even Lena doesn't know or understand, about her own fate and the fate of her family...
I really really like this book! The first few chapters were a little slow-moving and hard to get into, but once the real story started, I couldn't put the book down!
The characters are so real and I felt I could relate to almost all of them - even the bad ones! I loved that Lena and Ethan's relationship is so real, and develops first as a friendship, even as a one-sided pursuance of a friendship at first, before developing into a romantic relationship. The dynamics of the town also seem real - not that I have any kind of experience with a small town like Gatlin, but it seems real. And considering that one of the authors wanted to write a book about the South, I have to assume that she would have taken pains to ensure that it matches real Southern small-town mentalities as much as possible! The high-school dynamics are also real, and unlike many books in these categories, it didn't feel at all cliched. Yes, there are the jocks and the cheerleaders, and the outcasts, but each jock and cheerleader has his/her own personality, and it makes the whole group relationship so much realer.
The mystery of what's going on is intriguing, and it's artfully woven so that everything makes sense, but each new piece of information adds a new piece to the puzzle that has to be figured out. I hate to say this, because it sounds so cliched, but in this respect, Beautiful Creatures reminded me of Harry Potter - the way every bit of information is vital to the final resolution, but it doesn't read like a mystery, and it's all woven together so that the reader is just as involved in the bewilderment as the characters in the story are.
Actually, I was reminded of a few "sources" (for lack of a better word) as I read the book. There was at least one similarity to the TV show Charmed, and one scene which thrust me back to the horrifying experience of Stephen King's Carrie. I still don't know if I think this is a good thing or a bad thing. I know authors borrow ideas from other books, or use others' ideas to spark their own, but when it's so obvious - what do you think?