Author: Anastasia Hopcus
Publication Date: July 13, 2010
With dreams and visions and her sister's death haunting her, Phe decides to fulfill what her sister wanted to do. Now, she finds herself in Devenish Prep, in the town of Shadow Hills. Her dreams and visions are following her and Shadow Hills is the only place where she can find the answers she needs. She meets Zach and more questions are raised about the mystery of Shadow Hills. Her destiny seemingly interlocks with the residents of Shadow Hills...and Zach. But dark forces are out to get her...will she stay alive, or will she follow in her sister's footsteps...to her grave?
After her sister Athena's tragic death, it's obvious that grief-stricken Persephone "Phe" Archer no longer belongs in Los Angeles. Hoping to make sense of her sister's sudden demise and the cryptic dreams following it, Phe abandons her bubbly LA life to attend an uptight East Coast preparatory school in Shadow Hills, MA -- a school which her sister mysteriously mentioned in her last diary entry before she died.
Once there, Phe quickly realizes that something is deeply amiss in her new town. Not only does Shadow Hills' history boast an unexplained epidemic that decimated hundreds of its citizens in the 1700s, but its modern townies also seem eerily psychic, with the bizarre ability to bend metal. Even Zach -- the gorgeous stranger Phe meets and immediately begins to lust after -- seems as if he is hiding something serious. Phe is determined to get to the bottom of it. The longer she stays there, the more she suspects that her sister's untimely death and her own destiny are intricately linked to those who reside in Shadow Hills.
Shadow Hills is a magnetic and intensifying read with immense depth and clarity. Hopcus weaves a cryptic mystery and inter-combines it with a deeply intricate romance that delves deep into the paranormal world of Shadow Hills. The concept of BVs, and the Greek mythological aspect, is strongly developed and fits into the the suspense-building atmosphere. There is a lot of inevitable explanation and description, but Hopcus integrates these in carefully-placed parts of the book, thus, not bombarding the reader with so much information and consistently solidifying the tense atmosphere.
Phe's narrative voice in Shadow Hills is powerful and balanced; readers will empathize with Phe in every aspect. She has an authentic teenage voice, but with a mature air surrounding her. Her visions and dreams are vividly realistic and reflects the fear that she feels towards the puzzle behind her sister's death and her own presence in Devenish Prep. She is perceived differently by everybody and is scrutinized more because of her 'odd' behavior and her lingering curiosity about the town. Phe's supportive friends--Graham, Toy, Adriana, and Brock--are completely different people, each with their own withstanding personality. Together, they make an unpredictable but entertaining cast of friends.
The chemistry and magnetism between Phe and Zach is immediately present and potent from their first meeting. Their inexplicable connection haunts and confuses them at first, but they soon grasp their feelings for each other and inevitably fall in love. Zach and Phe's relationship is uncommon, and paranormality in Shadow Hills emphasizes that. An underlying aspect that is extensively developed between them, is the understanding and sacrifice that shows how much genuinely care for each other. This is an aspect many YA novels miss to develop.
The anecdotal depictions of the town of Shadow Hills subtly emanates a dark and looming sensation that adds to the mysterious, dark allure of the novel. Devenish Prep is also depicted as a rigorous academic community in which the students' abilities are inconspicuously hinted to be BV powers. These descriptions are all aspects that accentuates the presence of a haunting mystery in Shadow Hills.
Hopcus writes a novel that is filled with a passionate romance, a looming mystery, and a striking storyline. Readers cannot escape the hypnotic world of Shadow Hills...nor would they want to. The interlocking of the well-developed romance with the dark enigmatic mystery is hauntingly beautiful and utterly perfect. Shadow Hills is the ultimate paranormal romance. A+ =)
The Bottom Line: Intense. Powerful. Amazing.
My reaction/enjoyment: 10/10
Total Score: 100/100 (A+) !!!This is one of the ELEVEN books that hold the title: The Holy Grail - Beholder of the Perfect 100!!!