Title: Shadow Hills
Author: Anastasia Hopcus
Genre: YA/ Teen
His love captivated her... his secrets might kill her.
Since her sister’s mysterious death, Persephone “Phe” Archer has been plagued by a series of disturbing dreams. Determined to find out what happened to her sister, Phe enrolls at Devenish Prep in Shadow Hills, Massachusetts—the subject of her sister’s final diary entry.
After stepping on campus, Phe immediately realizes that there’s something different about this place—an unexplained epidemic that decimated the town in the 1700s, an ancient and creepy cemetery, and gorgeous boy Zach—and somehow she’s connected to it all.
But the more questions she asks and the deeper she digs, the more entangled Phe becomes in the haunting past of Shadow Hills. Finding what links her to this town…might cost her her life. [via GoodReads]
I absolutely loved the premise of this book! And I have to say that the fact that there are no vampires, werewolves or other popular creatures of the night in it, was a rare treat.
Ms. Hopcus gives us a mystery set in a boarding school (my favorite!), where normal looking teens are far from normal. With all sorts of normal teen shenanigans going on (partying in a remote field, smoking, drinking, making out with your boyfriend in your dorm room), I felt that her characters (although magically enhanced) were realistically portrayed. The romance between Phe and Zach was sweet - I think I might have fallen in love with Zach myself (ahem). The backdrops - like the spooky cemetery out in the woods, a mental health hospital, and even the empty halls of the school - give it an ambiance which ranged anywhere from gothic, creepy, to downright goosebump inducing.
The story is riddled with symbolism both subtle and dark. Every time I thought I had finally unlocked the mystery, I was taken on a new unexpected turn. The story started a bit slow for me but that was okay because it slowly built up to this fantastically riveting story - and the best part of it all is that it looks like it is the first in the series. Kudos to Ms. Hopcus for a phenomenal debut! I truly can't wait to see what happens next!