Monday, May 3, 2010

Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus

Title: Shadow Hills (Book 1)
Author: Anastasia Hopcus
Pages: 400
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Publication Date: July 13, 2010

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.
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 her grave?

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.

---Field Report---
Originality: 10/10
Ending: 10/10
Characters: 10/10
Plot: 10/10
My reaction/enjoyment: 10/10
Theme: 10/10
Imagery: 10/10
Setting: 5/5
Voice: 5/5
Style: 5/5
Tone: 5/5
Cover: 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!!!

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Emma Kate "Coops" @ Whats Cracking Coops May 3, 2010 at 11:54 AM  

FABULOUS review! I am so looking forward to reading this, it sounds wonderful! :)

Emma :)

bookaholic May 3, 2010 at 11:54 AM  

Dreams,visions with a dash of Greek mythology...I think I will love the book. And now that you have rated it so highly Reggie,you surely have piqued my interest for Shadow Hills :)

Little Miss Becky :) May 3, 2010 at 12:32 PM  

I cannot wait for this one to come out!! :)

Unknown May 3, 2010 at 10:13 PM  

LOVED - I just read this one, and I enjoyed it SOO much! Wonderful review...

Christina T May 3, 2010 at 10:37 PM  

Wow, this sounds fantastic! I can't wait to read Shadow Hills. Excellent review :)

Leanna Elle May 3, 2010 at 10:54 PM  

I can't wait to read this one! I already read the first chapter, and loved it. Sounds amazing. Great review too!

Jenni @ Falling Off The Shelf May 4, 2010 at 12:43 AM  

I want to read this one even more now! Fantastic review! It sounds like it's going to be a real page turner!

Liz @ Cleverly Inked May 4, 2010 at 2:27 AM  

I have been waiting patiently for this one! Great review

The Library Lurker May 4, 2010 at 3:45 AM  

I just pre-ordered this one! I'm glad that my money went to a good book :) Great review!

Amber Skye May 4, 2010 at 5:49 AM  

I really wanted to read this book before I saw your review. Now I'm dying to get my hands on it!

Elise May 4, 2010 at 7:04 AM  

Wow. Sounds like a great book! Reminds me so much of Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick only the guy the girl lusts after is a fallen angel and the person dead is her father instead. In this book the death of the dad relates to the fallen angel somehow and the girl is unsure to trust the fallen angel or not. I loved hush, hush so I am thrilled that this is another book with a similar storyline. I would definitely enjoy reading this book. Thanks for the review.

Jenn (Books At Midnight) May 4, 2010 at 8:26 AM  

Awesome review! I skimmed because I don't want to feel like I'm copying your review when I write my own, but I definitely agree with the amazing paranormal romance part. And, wow, 100!! :D

Anonymous,  May 4, 2010 at 12:18 PM  

Thanks for the fantastic review. Anything that warrants being categorized in the Holy Grail area is something that will be immediately added to my to-read list! :D

"She has an authentic teenage voice, but with a mature air surrounding her." <-- Thank goodness. I'm always pleased to hear variations of that sentence! Thanks again, Reggie!


Anastasia Hopcus May 4, 2010 at 1:05 PM  

I am absolutely giddy about this review! I can't even find the right words to express how much it means to me! Wow!

Nat June 15, 2010 at 10:22 PM  

What a great review! I am on the Shadow Hills tour and now I'm really looking forward to reading it!

Unknown June 18, 2010 at 12:53 AM  

Oh wow a 100?! I really need to pick up that book now!

Tori [Book Faery] June 18, 2010 at 1:27 AM  

This book evaded me for months, but I've finally managed to obtain a copy! Your review was awesome, and definitely made me even MORE excited to dig in to this title. Great job!

Allison June 18, 2010 at 3:58 AM  

I am so looking forward to reading this book! Great review :)

Sharli June 18, 2010 at 8:18 AM  

Wow I'm impressed! I have been looking forward to reading this for a while and your review made me want it even more!

I was lucky enough to win an ARC in a contest hosted by Anastasia so I'll be reading it soon! xD
Can't wait!!

Great review!

Little Miss Becky :) June 18, 2010 at 11:38 AM  

Great in-depth review!! I agree, I absolutely LOVED this book!

Jessica June 18, 2010 at 10:44 PM  

This sounds great and with a perfect score like that, I definitely need to add it to my TBR list!

The Reading Date June 20, 2010 at 2:05 AM  

I can't wait to read this! Great review- it makes me more excited to read it. Sounds like a perfect paranormal romance.

Dawn June 25, 2010 at 12:39 AM  

I can't wait for this book to come out :) Thanks for the review!

Elise June 25, 2010 at 9:18 AM  

Sounds like a good mystery to read. And adding in some psychic abilities must make that story that much more interesting. Thanks for the review.

Unknown July 12, 2010 at 6:22 PM  

Wow! What a stellar review. I have had Shadow Hills on my wishlist but your review praising it to the skies made me even more determined to read it! I sounds fantastic! Thank you! :-)

Jen July 16, 2010 at 4:28 AM  

I am so excited to read this book. It's on its way in the mail! After reading your review and seeing the perfect 100 that it received it makes me even more anxious to read it. You did a wonderful job of reviewing the book. I like your reviews because they are very thoroughly detailed. Keep up the great blogs!

Sherry Soule August 6, 2011 at 1:04 AM  

Thanks sharing the thoughtful and well-written review. This book sounds amazing! I can’t wait to read it now.

Sherry Soule Official Website

Author of the Spellbound Series

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