Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

Ethan Wate is an accepted member of the Gatlin, South Carolina community.  Though his family may be dismissive of “The War Between The States” and Civil War re-enactments they are still viewed as part of the establishment of which Ethan has grown weary.  From Ethan’s vantage point as a star on the basketball team- knee deep in the in-crowd- everything is the same as it ever has and ever will be.

Ethan wants to meet someone new and different and in fact he has been dreaming about just such a girl, but when she shows up he has to be willing to embrace her- even when it means breaking away from the security of the life that he has always known.

A wonderful odyssey from the first page to the last I was immediately enthralled with Beautiful Creatures.  Ethan’s voice is a joy to listen to as wit, self-doubt and humor curl into each other among carefully observed assessments of his family and friends.  Without Amma, his guardian/housekeeper, Ethan would be on his own (his father has been out to lunch since his mother died), but luckily she makes looking out for him her number one priority.

Beautiful Creatures is essentially a strong and thoughtful coming of age story.  The supernatural elements of this novel wonderfully lend themselves in the exploration of being an outsider wanting to belong, and coming into your own power and identity amidst scary physical and emotional changes.

Ethan has to find out whether he can stand on his own while Lena Duchannes, his bewitched beloved, has to stop trying to fit in long enough to come into her own- and they both have to work at this while discovering the nature of the bond between them before they are destroyed by it.

The novel is filled with characters both intricate and quirky and I had more than one favorite among the bunch. Uncle Macon and Amma were kickers to be sure, but my absolute favorite was Kitchen- and who can resist a wolf dog called Boo Radley? Populated with memorable people, this one had me rushing to turn the page until I reached the very last one.

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