Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Came out: December 1, 2009
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Age Group: Young Adult
Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.
My sister really wanted this book, but I didn't really think that it looked that good. The description made it sound exactly like every other paranormal romance book that tried to pull off the mysterious-other-at-school-who-falls-in-love-with-you type plotline, but I decided to pick it up anyways.This was back in (November?) when I had my broken ankle, so while my friends were doing something active, I wandered into the bookstore and picked this up to read while they were surfing. I was absentmindedly reading the first pages of books and the beginning of this book captivated me.This book is filled with great surprises, eerie settings, and great characters. I loved how Kami and Margaret told the story from a guy's point of view. I thought that it was genius. And while, like every first book, they explained the plotline gradually through the book, it didn't move slowly at all like I was expecting it to.What with the lush setting of the Southern small town, I could easily percieve relationships between the characters. I loved how everybody knew everything about each other. I loved Amma and her witchiness/voodoo. The mystery behind her was intriguing and tangled. Ethan and Lena's relationship was realistic; they did not automatically fall in love, but gradually built up a relationship of trust and friendship.The setting was gorgeous. The description took me right into the story. I also loved the idea of Casters. It was so original. It was like a spin on witches. Throw in a family curse and some romance, and you have Beautiful Creatures. While I didn't think that it was amazing, it was really good. I did read the sequel and that is possibly one of the best paranormal romances that I have read. I did like how it showed that Kami and Margaret's writing gets better with every book, so I'm curious to see what happens with the third book. Absolutely mind-blowing. Definitely pick up Beautiful Creatures and Beautiful Darkness!Recommended for anybody who loves: paranormal romance; The Magnolia League; Southern novels; gothic novels; dark fantasy; etc,.Possible book club questions:Why do you think that people are so unaccepting of new people or ideas at first?Do you think that the book would have been better or worse if they wrote in a girl's point of view?How do you think that Ethan's father was so stealthy at concealing his grief?Why do you think Lena turns to words for comfort? What do you think her poetry means?Why do you think that Lena was in Ethan's dreams before he even met her? Was it fate that Sixteen Moons was playing on his iPod?Scents are proven to be the sense most associated with memory. Ethan says he smelled "vanilla and rosemary". Do you think he recognized Lena because of the smell and the memory of his dream?