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Monday, June 27, 2011

Spellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz

Spellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult
Length: Full Length (344 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 5 Books
Reviewed by Jasmine

What's a girl to do when meeting The One means she's cursed to die a horrible death?

Life hasn't been easy on sixteen-year-old Emma Conner, so a new start in New York may be just the change she needs. But the posh Upper East Side prep school she has to attend? Not so much. Friendly faces are few and far between, except for one that she's irresistibly drawn to—Brendan Salinger, the guy with the rock-star good looks and the richest kid in school, who might just be her very own white knight.

But even when Brendan inexplicably turns cold, Emma can't stop staring. Ever since she laid eyes on him, strange things have been happening. Streetlamps go out wherever she walks, and Emma's been having the oddest dreams: visions of herself in past lives—visions that warn her to stay away from Brendan. Or else.

Remember that first love? That first feeling of infatuation where you couldn't wait to see him, hear him speak or just simply look at you? When it seemed like your entire life depended on him noticing you? What if that guy really was as perfect as you thought he was and he turned out to be your soul mate?

Emma Connor hasn't had an easy life when her Great-Aunt/Godmother rescues her and brings her to live with her in New York. In New York she has to attend an exclusive, private school. In the first days of school we meet quite a few stereo-typical teens: the snobby jock that is full of himself and thinks every girl should want him; the hot, sexy, yet elusive, bad boy; the outcast; the popular, snobby girl that thinks she makes the rules for everyone; even the closeted homosexual friend.

Emma is determined to remain under the radar until she meets Brendan (the bad boy), with whom she feels an immediate connection. But Brendan runs hot and cold, leaving her to wonder if she's imagining things. In the meantime she has to contend with the vicious Kristen, who has decided that she doesn't like her and proceeds to try to ruin her at the school. Things aren't all bad though. She makes friends with Cisco and Angelique and eventually Brendan decides to stop fighting the attraction.

It could just be because I was recently watching old episodes of My So Called Life but this book reminded me of the series. It was like watching an entire season all wrapped up in one book. Substitute the public school with a private one, Rayanne with Angelique, Jordan Catalano with Brendan, throw in some magic and there ya go!

The paranormal aspects of this book don't play a huge part, but it is an integral part of the story and is very interesting. We get the history of the soul mates as Emma discovers it herself. It is a fun and intriguing plotline, and not something that you see often in the context that Spellbound places it.

Secondary characters were interesting and played a vital role in the story although I do wish that we could have gotten to know a couple of them a bit better. Based on an excerpt at the very end though, it seems like we may get to know Angelique better sometime in the future. There is one character that we see a lot of in the beginning of the book that all but disappears by the end, leaving you wondering what happens to her.

There is an issue with a friend drinking that is mentioned but never fully explored, leaving me wondering what the point of it was. I absolutely love that Emma, while insecure in some ways, is not afraid to stand up for what she thinks is right and refuses to back down from the bullies. Everything is well paced – nothing seems to happen too fast. Especially in the world of teens, where everything happens in the now and the future seems like a distant prize. The end is wrapped up quite nicely and doesn't leaving you hanging after the climactic scene with a short little two page epilogue as many do, which I loved. Though it would have been nice to see what happens with the character of Kristen, which isn't addressed.

This was a thoroughly enjoyable book. One that once I started it, I couldn't put it down. I highly recommend checking this book out. If you enjoy Young Adult books, you won't regret it, I promise.