By Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Ethan Wate is counting the months until he can leave his small South Carolina town of Gatlin, in which nothing ever changes, and everyone knows everyone else. Then he starts having weird, very real dreams in which he is trying to save a girl. When that girl from his dreams shows up at school, Ethan’s life changes — and how.
Lena Duchannes is different. She has lived a variety of places, she doesn’t wear the same clothes or look the same or act the same as the girls at Ethan’s high school. And the fact that she’s living with her uncle Macon Ravenwood, the infamous town recluse, puts the final nail in the coffin of her unpopularity.
Ethan is popular — until he decides to trade it in for being Lena’s friend. Because any teen knows that the two can’t go together. But Lena is the most interesting person Ethan has ever met, and he can’t resist her, despite all the naysayers. He knows she’s different, and he knows that there is much more going on than she lets on at first, but her life is much stranger than he could possibly have imagined. Eventually Lena lets him in on her world of magic, and it’s a dark and scary place because her family is trapped in a curse — and Lena will be feeling the effects of that curse in a few short months when she turns 16. The time ticking away feels like the ticking of a bomb for the two teens.
Beautiful Creatures is an entertaining book full of magic and mystery. It has romance, between a mortal and a “Caster,” and suspense. The elements are all there for a great supernatural tale. Somehow, though, at times it just doesn’t seem to click like it could or should; the romance isn’t sizzling like the authors seem to want it to be, and the magic world can be a little confusing, and the details sometimes just don’t seem to quite make sense. Despite its failings, however, it’s a fun novel for young and older readers alike.
Rated: Mild. Some mild and moderate language, some violence, kissing and references to some scantily clad teens.