HarperTeen, 2009. 978-0-06-166803-6
Synopsis: Laurel has just moved to Crescent City and now attends the public high school after being homeschooled for most of her life. In biology class she meets David, a shy but handsome boy who helps Laurel with her homework. Laurel has never considered herself normal, but when she starts to sprout a flower out of her back, she knows there is something more to her own family history than she knows.
Why I picked it up: The woman I baby-sit for knows I liked teen books and let me borrow a copy to see what I thought of it after a conversation involving vampire myth.
Why I finished it: I knew there had to be a plot somewhere, and I finally found it, but I was over half-way through the story before it manifested itself. Billed as the first in a series, Pike has woven together an intriguing mythology with a heavy-breathing romance that didn’t entrance me quite as it was meant to. The first few chapters took me the better part of a week to get through, but I was finally rewarded with a much more interesting read the last quarter of the book in which we finally get to the point of the story. Not being a big fan of romance novels, I couldn’t really appreciate the budding romance between Laurel and David and then her confusion after meeting Tamani, who explains why she has a flower growing out of her back. It was just too…mushy for my taste, and for a while, I wanted to stop reading it but my curiosity got the better of me. I wanted to know what happened despite my grimacing at the gentle touches and tender embraces that are the hallmark of most romantic literature. Toward the end of the book, I felt like I should have been choosing a side – Team Tamani or Team David – and Pike isn’t giving any hints as to which boy Laurel will choose, but it’s a series, so I am willing to bet that we’ll find out. Personally, I hope she chooses the werewolf. An intriguing first novel, but not enough to make me read the rest of the series.
Other related materials: Spells by Aprilynne Pike; Illusions by Aprilynne Pike; Faeriewalker books by Jenna Black; Firelight novels by Sophie Jordan; Shadow Falls novels by C.C. Hunter; Entwined by Heather Dixon; Nightshade books by Andrea Cremer; Fallen novels by Lauren Kate; Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini; Abandon by Meg Cabot; Hereafter by Tara Hudson; Wolves of Mercy Falls books by Maggie Stiefvater; Matched by Ally Condie; Crossed by Ally Condie; Hex Hall novels by Rachel Hawkins