School Library Journal
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Gr 7 Up-Ethan Wate, a high school sophomore, plans to escape his small Southern town as soon as he can. Life has been difficult since his mother died; his father, a writer, has withdrawn into his study. Then Lena Duchannes arrives, and this strange new girl is the very one who has been occupying his dreams. She and her kin are Casters, beings who have supernatural powers. Getting to know her exposes Ethan to time travel, mortal danger, and love. The teens can hardly bear to be apart, but Lena's 16th birthday, when she will be Claimed for dark or light, is only 6 months away. To save her, they fight supernatural powers and the prejudice of closed-minded people. Yet, good and evil are not clearly delineated, nor are they necessarily at odds. In the Gothic tradition of Anne Rice, the authors evoke a dark, supernatural world in a seemingly simple town obsessed with Civil War reenactments and deeply loyal to its Confederate past. The intensity of Ethan and Lena's need to be together is palpable, the detailed descriptions create a vivid, authentic world, and the allure of this story is the power of love. The satisfying conclusion is sure to lead directly into a sequel. Give this to fans of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight (Little, Brown, 2005) or HBO's "True Blood" series and they will devour all 600-plus pages of this teen Gothic romance.-Amy J. Chow, The Brearley School, New York City (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
Ethan has lived in Gatlin, South Carolina, his whole life, as have generations of his family. If there's one thing he knows, nothing changes. Enter Lena Duchannes, and suddenly nothing is the same. Like most southern gothics, this story hides a secret, one that links Ethan's and Lena's families. Otherworldly elements abound: Lena, from a family of spell casters, is waiting for her sixteenth birthday to see if she'll be claimed by the Light or the Dark. Meanwhile, Lena and Ethan, who can read each other's thoughts, are traveling back in time to the Civil War, when two star-crossed lovers meet their fates. Throw in secret mystical libraries, a literal witch hunt, dead parents, and the snarky girls and sports teams of high school, and there's a lot going on here. Maybe too much. The 600-plus pages could have been cut to make a tighter, better story. Despite the bulk, there's plenty teens will like: romance, magic, hauntings, and the promise of more to come.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2009 Booklist