Friday, June 25, 2010

Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus

Published: July 13th 2010 by Egmont USA
Hardcover, 400 pages
ISBN: 1606840835
ISBN13: 9781606840832

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.

Review:

Persephone (Phe) Archer lost her sister when she fell overboard trying to sneak into a yacht party over a year ago. When she finds her sister's journal detailing the recent dreams she had leading up to her death, Phe knows that she must finish what her sister started. At first, Athena's death doesn't seem real to Phe, but when a package for Athena from Devenish Prep comes six months too late, reality starts to sink in. Now Phe has enrolled to a new boarding, with the mindset of finding out what Shadow Hills' secrets are.

With the premise of a captivating read, Shadow Hills was held up by high expectations. The potential this tale of a deadly relationship with secrets being on both ends was great. As the Shadow Hills began, I lapped up all the juicy details of the meeting between the two love birds. The friends that Phe encountered at her new school were supportive and had their one tales to tell. The characters that consisted of Zach's--the hunky, pale blue, gray and green eyed hunk's--family were believable when pertaining to their very own agendas. The townies abnormalities were something that seemed engaging and mysterious, something that will keep readers entertained. However, as Hopcus tried to develop the plot as the mystery and secrets Phe was trying frustratingly to uncover, there were times when, not only the scenes but the dialogue fell flat. The development of Zach and Phe's relationship was built out of thin air; you could see the physical attractions that drew the two characters towards each other, but there was no fundamental reason, it seemed, that this couple fell in love so quickly. Closer to the mystery's end, it seemed as if the plot was struggling to not be too predictable in it's ending. I was quite relieved when I was at the last few chapters to find out what conclusion the story would tell. While I found the background on the history of Shadow Hills' townies and Phe's connection to Heckate a bit sketchy, the ongoing suspension really kept me intrigued throughout the whole novel.
Hopcus has the potential to make a great author, and to turn Shadow Hills into a growing series, but her debut seemed more like a prequel supporting Phe's upcoming adventures in Devenish Prep.

Cover Note: I don't really think that this current cover really supports any part of the novel it encases. While it most likely will capture some readers attention, it won't be a basis as to anything that goes on in the actual book.

Grade: B

This ARC was sent by the publishers at Egmont USA for my uninfluenced review.

LiLi