Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy)'s Reviews > Shadow Hills

Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus
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's review
Nov 17, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: tenners, arc, ya, for-review, book-a-day, debut-2010, own, paranormal, rev-yalr
Read in June, 2010

In an effort to write a spoiler-free review, I am going to focus on how Shadow Hills lives up to my "this is a good book" criteria. My criteria looks at readability, characters, twists on the paranormal theme, and ease in recommending it.

There were two things that quickly jumped out at me while I was reading Shadow Hills. An author should write in a way that engages the reader from the first chapter. I am pretty adamant about this. There are too many good books out there to waste time struggling through the first 100 pages of a book waiting for something to happen or for it to become interesting. Just as with reading the first chapter of the book, when I was able to finally sit down and read Hopcus's novel, I didn't want to put it down. I wanted to find out more about Persephone “Phe” Archer and the world of Shadow Hills. Part of what really gripped me was how Hopcus is able to reveal her characters' secrets without confusing me or irritating the heck out of me.

As for Anastasia Hopcus's characters, may I just say one word - Zach. Yes, hot boy with powers. I truly think I have a new fictional love interest. Despite Zach's hotness factor, what really is brilliant on Hopcus's part is that both Phe and Zach are equally matched. I am not going to reveal too much because I would then be spoiling it for readers, but let's just say that Phe is no wimpy teenage girl. I will also say I loved all of the secondary characters. There are some characters that you should really dislike and some that you should really like. Plus, I liked Phe's friends despite their very realistic flaws.

My third criteria is a difficult one for many books. There seems to be only so many twists or variations on the same theme. Shadow Hills was refreshing in that I didn't feel like I was reading the same vampire/werewolf/faery/angel book that populates the shelves of bookstores in over abundance. The history of Zach, his family and the townies and the evolution of their gifts and abilities was fascinating. Phe's ability is different than Zach's but presents with its own unique history. Though the connection between the two was not fully developed, I truly sensed that this was intentional and that in the next book we will gain a deep understanding of the connection between the two.

Can I recommend Shadow Hills? That would be a definite YES! Enough said!

After reading the book, I did have one thing I struggled with but you will probably laugh when you hear it. Let me just say, I grew up in New England. I went to college in New Hampshire and I lived in Massachusetts. And I have lived in Los Angeles. October is cold in Massachusetts. After all these years living in Southern California, when I go home, I freeze. Phe is from Los Angeles. When I think about her clothes, I just kept wanting to run after her with a jacket or a heavy duty sweatshirt yelling "You forgot something." See I told you that you would laugh?!

Shadow Hills is a great debut novel, and I am already pining for book 2. I am totally looking forward to seeing how Phe's abilities grow and how she learns more about her connection to Shadow Hills. And well, yeah, I want more Zach but that goes without saying.
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