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Beautiful Creatures

Ethan Wate dreams:  dark, mysterious dreams of a girl he can’t lose, but a girl he can’t quite find, either.  And those dreams have a funny way of making their way into his waking life – including the lines of a song he’s never heard before, one he can’t get out of his head.  So when the girl of his dreams – literally – walks into his class, looking like no one else in this small Southern town and with an allure so strong it feels supernatural, Ethan can’t deny the connection he feels.  He’s just not sure what it means.


“There were no surprises in Gatlin County.  We were pretty much the epicenter of the middle of nowhere.

Turns out, I couldn’t have been more wrong.

There was a curse.

There was a girl.

And in the end, there was a grave.  I never even saw it coming.”

Beautiful Creatures is Southern Gothic done right.  Dark and dreamy, strange and compelling, it’s easy to find yourself drawn into the world of Gatlin and its peculiar customs.  The thing is, Ethan wants out.  He hates small town life and its small minded ways.  He wants to see the world, only he can’t do that until he goes away to college.  So for the time being, he reads about it, and every time he finds a new place he wants to see, he puts a pin in the map on the wall of his room.  Ethan is not going to live the rest of his life in Gatlin; he’s not going to get stuck, the way his mother did – until she died, anyway. When she was alive, Ethan’s mom – an academic historian – was more interested in her books than she was in making a perfect pie.  She wasn’t exactly a typical Southern housewife, and the women of Gatlin looked down their noses at her.  When she died, suddenly everyone loved her, and wanted to feed and comfort Ethan and his dad.  It was only the iron hand of Amma, Ethan’s snarky-yet-grandmotherly housekeeper – who also happens to do a little voodoo – that kept them at bay.  Now a new school year is starting, and Ethan knows he won’t be just plain old Ethan Wate anymore – he’ll be that Poor Boy Whose Mother Just Died.

In fact, Ethan wasn’t really so unusual before his mom died.  He had friends and teammates, he dated a cheerleader.  He kept his reading habits – and his post-high school plans – to himself.  Only his best friend, Link, knows the real Ethan, and lucky for Ethan, Link always has his back. Because once Lena Duchannes is on the scene, Ethan can’t be bothered to fit in any more.  Lena, and whatever it is that’s pulling them together, is much more interesting.  In fact, she’s downright compelling – a true mystery.  Where did she come from?  What’s the secret that makes her push Ethan away so desperately?  What is she afraid of?  And why is it that, when Lena gets mad,  the wind whips through the trees like a hurricane, the rain sheets down like the end of the world, and windows seem to break of their own volition?  It’s not so surprising that Ethan is drawn to her like a magnet, and no matter how hard she pushes him away, Lena can’t deny that she feels the same pull.  No one in Gatlin wants to see them together – not Lena’s uncle, the infamous, isolated Mason, or Ethan’s Amma, who clearly knows more than she’s letting on.  But forces beyond their control are drawing Ethan and Lena together and that haunting song, “Sixteen Moons” plays like a soundtrack in the background.

Beautiful Creatures has it all:  backwoods graveyards, secret tunnels, ghosts and demons, dark humor, terrible rock bands, nasty cheerleaders, and yes, even romance.  It’s equal parts scary,  funny and mysterious.  Once you start it, you won’t be able to put it down; you’ll be drawn into the mysterious world of Gatlin and its secrets, and just like Ethan, the more you learn, the more mysterious things become.  This is one of those books that keeps you up late at night because you can’t stop reading, and when you’re finished, the world inside the book will stick with you.  The good news is, the next book in the series, Beautiful Darkness, just came out – so you don’t have to wait to find out what happens next.  Until you get to the end of that book, anyway …


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