Saturday, February 13, 2010

Beautiful Creatures by Garcia & Stohl

Beautiful Creatures
by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Little, Brown (Dec. 2009)
576 pages
YA Supernatural Fiction
Winner of the William C. Morris YA Debut Award
Source: My friend Kim foisted this on me so she could have someone to discuss it with :)

Summary in a Sentence:

In a small South Carolina town, where it seems little has changed since the Civil War, sixteen-year-old Ethan is powerfully drawn to Lena, a new classmate with whom he shares a psychic connection and whose family hides a dark secret that may be revealed on her sixteenth birthday.

My thoughts:

I have extremely mixed feelings over this tome of a young adult novel. I usually make the effort to put some distance between a new release with this much hype and my reading of said novel. Unfortunately, I did not give myself enough time with Beautiful Creatures. The book was simply talked up way too much for me to possibly enjoy it as much as I was hoping I would.  Here's my bulleted list of irksome findings:
  • I found Ethan, the male love interest, to be very feminine and not much like most sixteen year old guys I know or have ever known. Women authors have been known to write believable male characters and vice versa, but Garcia & Stohl did not hit the nail on the head with this one.
  • I think I'm a little burned out on the whole supernatural-I'm-mortal-but-the-one-I-love-isn't-what-will-we-ever-do? theme in young adult literature. Did anyone else feel like this was just Bella and Edward in reverse, just a little bit? 
Not everything is bad here, I promise! I love that it was set in the south (South Carolina, to be exact), that libraries feature so prominently in the book (not just regular libraries but secret occult libraries as well), and that the Civil War is also a main topic in the novel. Many citizens in Ethan's small town of Gatlin, South Carolina, still seemed to be fighting for the Cause with a capital 'C'. For librarians out there, teen readers of Twilight and supernatural series in general will definitely be into this one.

~ Read for the 4 Month Challenge ~

Other reviews:

8 comments:

Misty said...

I still have yet to read this, though I own it. I'm holding off. I bought it because everyone told me it was good (and some of those were people who actually know me and know my tastes), and then no sooner did it get to me than I started seeing negative reviews everywhere...We shall see.

A Bookshelf Monstrosity said...

At first I thought I was a freak for not liking it. All the reviews I've seen so far are absolutely glowing.

StephanieD said...

I'm holding off too, despite the allure of that gorgeous cover. But now that you mentioned secret occult libraries...

Lisa said...

I'm so glad to get another perspective on this one. I've looked at it for my 15yo but knew it would really have to be something special to keep her interest for so long. Don't think this one will do it.

A Bookshelf Monstrosity said...

I would say that she would like it except for the fact that the first 200 pages move a little more slowly than I would like for a shorter attention span. I suppose you're right in passing on this one for her.

SariJ said...

Humm. Now I am torn. I saw some good reviews of this book and put it on my maybe list. After reading your review, I may push it way back in the maybe pile.
I have a pet peeve when it comes to women authors writing male characters that come across to feminine. Cold Sassy Tree comes to mind. The story was told through the eyes of a young boy, but yet his "voice" always sounded female to me. His actions and feelings just did not ring true for me so I did not enjoy the book as much as other people did.
I will hold off on this book.

Natalie (Mindful Musings) said...

I've read Beautiful Creatures, and while I enjoyed it, I definitely understand what you're saying about being burned out on the whole immortal/mortal love thing. I feel like the YA book market is completely saturated with books like that right now. Some of that are great, but some just...aren't so great. For those of you who haven't read it yet, I'd still recommend reading it, but it might be best to wait awhile for the hype to go down. There's nothing worse than reading a book that everyone says is awesome and than being disappointed by it.

Thanks for your honest review! :)

Michelle said...

I haven't read this one yet, either, but I talked to a teen who checked it out from my library. She said she had a hard time getting into it and that some of the characters bugged her, but overall she liked it a lot.

I agree, too, about the crazy amount of immortal/mortal love in YA fiction. It's like everyone saw what worked and jumped on the bandwagon, but now it's just becoming too much.

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