What's the book about?
Ethan Wate leaves in Gatlin, South Carolina. He thinks he doesn't belong in this small town, where everything has happened before to the point that he can tell who is going to be sitting with whom on the first day of school. That is, until Lena Duchanes arrives to town. He has seen her before, except that he hasn't, not really. He is instantly drawn to her, even when everyone in town seems against it. Learning she is a caster won't make people to like her any better and having a curse upon herself won't make her relationship with Ethan any easier either.
What was different of this book?
I know what you guys are thinking. Oh, this is just Twilight with witches instead of vampires. I know you are thinking it because that's why I didn't read the book before. I started wondering about it when I saw the movie coming, but you know what made me read it? My boyfriend, whom we will start calling Alex, since that's his name, comes to me and says: "io9 has an article about that book, apparently is good". So I go, I read this article and realized...well, it might not be like Twilight after all.
And it wasn't. It remain a YA book, people, but (so far) none of the characters is useless without the other. I mean, yes they want to be together, they are 16 (about) but there is no "I will die if you are not to my side" part...again, so far, lets hope I will be not disappointed. Other than that, I feel the characters were better constructed and adding the little bit of Civil War was nice too.
What about the main character?
Ethan...Ethan has the feeling that he doesn't belong. Partially because his mom was an outsider and partially because he is a secret book worm. Sadly in this town, that's not a good thing, so he keeps he jock façade until Lena comes in the picture. He is battling some hard situations of his own. I think the teenage male voice has to be a little bit worked on, but it was nice to see a male main character for a while.
As for Lena...she wants to fit in. She want to do what every teenage girl wants to do, knowing that she might have limited time to do it.
The 10% moment
At this point I wanted to know a bit more about the side characters. I mean, I knew how this was going to end, but the side characters (Amma for example) where very interesting and had a good back story.
Look, let's all be honest here. This is not the Pulitzer in the making, not the greatest American novella. But is a well written book. Was there a bit of cliché in the depiction of the town and its characters? Sure, but the point of this book was not to be an accurate picture of the south. The book was born as a dare. And the authors delivered EXACTLY what they were asked for. Unlike Zoey from the House of Night Series who in theory has as much power as Lena, the latest is not helpless. Sure, she "fell in love"...and yes they use the L word a bit fast...but I did the same thing when I was 16...minus the magic part.
This book delivers what was asked from it. Is a love story between teenagers. One of them happens to be supernatural. They have a lot of things against them being together. The girl does something else than falling in love, no vampires...
There is one thing that is bothering me A LOT, and that is the bunch of people hating this book. Is not the fact that they hate it, is ok by me, is the fact that they all say the same thing that everyone criticized about Twilight. I feel like a lot of critics, feeling the upcoming explosion of fans of this book decided to take cover early and say oh the book is just awful!. The book is not awful. The book is not great. The book could have more depth...but that would make it into another book, not the one that the writers wanted to give to their teenage kids (their words, not mine)
And while we are in the subject, all this "who falls in love in a second" speech I've also been hearing. Well, a teenager does. Think of the relationships you had when you were 15-17, full of hormones. Every time you felt like you couldn't wait a single second before talking to someone in particular, doing something, and the feeling that no one understood your feelings. I think a lot of people who read this book as an "adult" are either forgetting or in denial about what teenage love is. I'm just saying.
I'm not trying to convince you to like the book. Is just that to me, when everyone says the exact same thing about something (either good or bad) it stops feeling like a personal opinion and more like a collective stigma.