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Winterborne by Augusta Blythe
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Mar 09, 2012

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Loie's parents died years ago in a freak accident, leaving Loie to the care of an emotionally abusive grandmother. Naturally, Loie turns to the best friend she considers family: Mia Winterborne. Loie spends just as much time at Mia's house as her own, where she even has her own room and a stand-in mother figure. Loie and Mia are as close as sisters and Loie's content to trail around in Mia's shadow, even when it comes to Andreas, the first boy to capture both their hearts. But Andreas inadvertently drives a wedge between the girls just when they need each other most.

Winterborne plunges you into this unique new universe from the very first page as the Loie and Mia discuss Mia's impending supernatural powers. But after the first chapter, the beginning feels rather slow. The lazy summer seems to last too long as it drags on through numerous chapters. But while not much seems to be happening plot-wise, we definitely see a lot of characterization and Augusta Blythe provides tons of grounding details that really make this world feel real.

As soon as the action picks up, Winterborne really hits its stride. This world is dark, terrifying, and completely fresh. The bad guys in this story are actual bad guys; claws, fangs, and murderous desires hide behind handsome exteriors. Blythe's villains are creepy enough to make your skin crawl. And as if helping to protect her best friend from otherworldly kidnappers isn't enough, Loie also has to deal with a grandmother she oscillates between hating and sympathizing with, solving the mystery of her parents' deaths, and falling in love with a boy she knows she can't have.

Poor Loie doesn't realize she's entitled to just as much happiness as Mia. My main issue with Loie is her self-deprecation. She thinks she's not as pretty or special as Mia and that therefore she doesn't deserve as much as Mia. Even though Loie's situation is nowhere near perfect, she still puts Mia before herself. And at times, Mia doesn't seem to consider Loie's feelings or appreciate the sacrifices Loie makes for her. The ending redeems both characters in my eyes. They both undergo extraordinary changes and grow into better characters. Loie finds her own inner strength and Mia learns a little humility. In my opinion, there's nothing more gratifying than an ending where the main characters truly grow and change for the better. Add to that all the realistic world-building and paranormal twists, and this series has definitely caught my interest.

I will say that the twist at the ending is a bit predictable and for some reason, Andreas doesn't really intrigue me as a love interest so far. He's definitely a likable character and his developing friendship with Loie is rather heart-warming. But his relationship with Mia seems off to me; I don't really understand why either girl is in love with him, other than the fact that he's hot and British. These qualities can definitely inspire a crush, but love? I'm not so sure. I'm interested in seeing how these relationships develop in the future, though. And the ending leaves off on a major cliffhanger, so I can't wait to start in on the sequel.
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