Author: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.
Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.
In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.
I really enjoyed this book - I adored the characters, they were all interesting and quirky and likeable, and I even liked the characters you weren't supposed to like. Ethan is a teenage boy, growing bored in his small southern town, who only thinks about getting away from Gatlin. Until Lena moves to town, that is. Lena is reviled by her town and classmates; she lives in the forbidden creepy mansion Ravenwood, with her uncle, who the town fears and mocks. He is the Boo Radley of Gatlin, and as much as I like Boo, Macon Ravenwood is a little cooler. His house is magic, and the interior can change on a whim. This is one of the things I loved about the book- the magical whimsy throughout. I of course loved Marion Ashcroft, the librarian, who you also find has a bit more up her sleeves than just being the public librarian.
Lena is a caster- and so is her family. On their 16th birthday, the fates decide if they are a good caster, or a bad caster. Which way will they turn out? Which way will Lena go? Lena is a powerful caster, yet she surprises the reader by also being just a regular teenager, with a crush on a boy. There is a battle against the clock of good versus evil, and to be honest, you don't always know which way it will go!
This book is rich in its charms, with the small southern town, eccentric characters, magic, a loyal dog, and romance. I very much enjoyed the world that Garcia and Stohl created.