Review: Beating Heart by A.M. Jenkins

Review: Beating Heart by A.M. JenkinsBeating Heart by A. M. Jenkins
Published by HarperTeen on 2009-08-25
Pages: 256
Genres: Paranormal YA, Young Adult
Source: Purchased myself
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She is a ghost: a figure glimpsed from the corner of your eye, a momentary chill, and a memory of secret kisses and hidden passion. He is 17 years old: Evan Calhoun, warm and alive, and ever since moving to this big abandoned house, he has dreamt of her. Ghost and boy fascinate each other–until her memories and his desire collide in a moment that changes them both.

Combining verse fragments with chiseled prose, A. M. Jenkins captures the compelling voice of a long–dead ghost and the perspective of a modern teen, twining mystery and romance in this evocative, sensual, and unrelentingly engrossing novel.

Thoughts: Beating Heart is a short, haunting novel with left me equal parts disturbed and impressed. This is not your average YA novel: there is no garunteed happily ever after, and no love-conquers-all message. This might look like a book about love, but it is not.

Beating Heart is all about sex. The lies we tell to have it, the lies we tell ourselves to keep having it, and the serious damage it can do to a person’s life. Not pregnancy or STDs, but the psycological consequences of sex. And it is not a pretty picture.

Honestly, although I was vaguely disturbed by this book – I’d give it to a teen in a heartbeat. Because, honestly, life is not simple and love doesn’t last forever. It is far too easy to hurt people you’ve cared for, especially the ones you are sleeping with.

Even if this somewhat ominous review has turned you off, give this book a shot. It will take a regular reader only an hour or so to finish, and will put the other novels on your shelves into perspective.

Bottom line? A unique twist on the YA fantasy on the market, Beating Heart is a haunting novel which will change how you read YA.

Review: Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

Review: Wicked Lovely by Melissa MarrWicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
Series: Wicked Lovely #1
Published by HarperTeen
Genres: Paranormal YA, Young Adult
Source: Purchased myself
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Aislinn has always seen faeries. Powerful and dangerous, they walk hidden in the mortal world. Aislinn fears their cruelty-especially if they learn of her Sight-and wishes she were as blind to their presence as other teens. Now faeries are stalking her. One of them, Keenan, who is equal parts terrifying and alluring, is trying to talk to her, asking questions Aislinn is afraid to answer.

But it's too late. Keenan is the Summer King, who has sought his queen for nine centuries. Without her, summer itself will perish. His is determined that Aislinn will become the Summer Queen at any cost-regardless of her plans or desires. Suddenly none of the rules that have kept Aislinn safe are working anymore, and everything is on the line: her freedom; her best friend, Seth; everything.

Faery intrigue, mortal love, and the clash of ancient rules and modern expectations swirl together in Melissa Marr's stunning twenty-first-century faery tale.

Thoughts: Wicked Lovely was, without a doubt, one of the most unique YA books I have read. First of all, there’s the universe. I was a bit nervous about the idea of faeries and was pleasantly surprised. Marr does not gloss over any of the horrors commited by faeries in traditional texts, and even encourages them by beginning each chapter with a quote about faery exploits. It was all appropriately horrific and enchanting.

Then there is the romance. Marr breaks the soul-mate stereotype I usually read in YA, and instead allows the people you love to be the ones you choose. Just because someone is destined to be the love of your life does not mean they are going to be!

Something else I appreciated was the realism of the (non-explicit) sex scenes. It is reassuring to read about a character – with an interesting sexual history – getting tested for STDs and waiting 6 months to ensure their accuracy. Perhaps that doesn’t sound romantic, but it was an absolutely heart-stealing scene.

Bottom line? Excellent read for young adults and adults alike – and a must it you are a fantasy fan!

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