Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Jenn's Review: Born at Midnight

Born at MidnightSummary:  One night Kylie Galen finds herself at the wrong party, with the wrong people, and it changes her life forever. Her mother ships her off to Shadow Falls—a camp for troubled teens, and within hours of arriving, it becomes painfully clear that her fellow campers aren’t just “troubled.” Here at Shadow Falls, vampires, werewolves, shapshifters, witches and fairies train side by side—learning to harness their powers, control their magic and live in the normal world.

Kylie’s never felt normal, but surely she doesn’t belong here with a bunch of paranormal freaks either. Or does she? They insist Kylie is one of them, and that she was brought here for a reason. As if life wasn’t complicated enough, enter Derek and Lucas. Derek’s a half-fae who’s determined to be her boyfriend, and Lucas is a smokin’ hot werewolf with whom Kylie shares a secret past. Both Derek and Lucas couldn’t be more different, but they both have a powerful hold on her heart.

Even though Kylie feels deeply uncertain about everything, one thing is becoming painfully clear—Shadow Falls is exactly where she belongs…  ~product description

Review: You know a book is good when it ingrains itself in your thoughts for days afterwards, making you want to go back and re-read the good bits to savor them a little longer. Born at Midnight is one of those books -an amazing read- and probably one I wouldn't have picked up on my own, so a huge thank you to Brittney at St. Martin's Press for forwarding this one to me!

Often times when the teen protagonist is dealing with divorced parents in a book, the teen is so consumed by it that s/he loose sight of  her/his own life, but such is not the case here.  Kylie is concerned about her parent's divorce, but before she has time to dwell on it she is swept off to a camp for troubled teens where they keep telling her she's not human.  Now she's on a quest to discover who she really is and what she wants out of life.

Kylie is an incredibly likable heroine.  She accepts her situation and tries to deal with it as best as she can, though she is not sure she believes any of it.  Actually, she thinks she'd rather have a brain tumor than be only part human.  And while it becomes more and more obvious that she's in denial, you do want to shake her just a little, but you can at least understand her fear of the unknown.  She starts to realize that maybe she's made assumptions about her family, friends, and even herself and, above all, Shadow Falls Camp will challenge them.

Kylie's love life is a mess, and in true teen fashion she is attracted to more than one guy, but she knows herself well enough to know that she's confused and not ready for a relationship, let alone a serious one.  I love that she's not full of angst and completely self-absorbed about it, it's just another dimension of complication in the story.

C.C. Hunter's writing is approachable and unassuming -and her take on the supernatural is Medium with a whole lot of Buffy humor and sarcasm thrown in. I love reading YA's that are original and not full of obsessive angst, and The Shadow Falls series is the perfect example of that.  I love all of the characters and I am anxious to find out more about each of them as they grow into themselves as supernaturals, and as adults.  There are many stories still to be told about these teens, and I anticipate this being a fabulous series.

C.C. Hunter has created a refreshing and fascinating series. The second book in the series, Awake at Dawn, will hit stores October 11, 2011 and I'm headed to pre-order it right now.  If you love YA paranormal in the vein of Amanda Hocking, you're going to love this series.

Edited to add:  The criticism I've seen for this book is that the story is "all over the place", the protagonist is whiney, or that the mystery is resolved rather quickly at the end, and I feel like I should address these things.  The story is about Kylie finding herself and her way, so yes, it meanders around, but since when is discovering yourself a straight path?!?  I really didn't find Kylie to be whiney.  I'm always straightforward if I find a protagonist unlikeable, but she wasn't. She wasn't self-absorbed, but she did have a lot on her plate ...and she dealt with it. As for the mystery at the camp, it was a sub-plot and not the focus of the story.  

Want more to persuade you?  Check out the Shadow Falls free prequel short story, Turned at Dark.

Final Take:  5/5



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