Thursday, April 1, 2010

Review: Evernight, by Claudia Gray

Title: Evernight (Book #1, Evernight series)
Author: Claudia Gray
Pages: 352
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: June 01, 2008

Genre: Young Adult
Themes: boarding school, forbidden love, paranormal, vampires

Synopsis: (From GoodReads) Bianca wants to escape.

She's been uprooted from her small hometown and enrolled at Evernight Academy, an eerie Gothic boarding school where the students are somehow too perfect: smart, sleek, and almost predatory. Bianca knows she doesn't fit in.

Then she meets Lucas. He's not the "Evernight type" either, and he likes it that way. Lucas ignores the rules, stands up to the snobs, and warns Bianca to be careful—even when it comes to caring about him.

"I couldn't stand it if they took it out on you," he tells Bianca, "and eventually they would."

But the connection between Bianca and Lucas can't be denied. Bianca will risk anything to be with Lucas, but dark secrets are fated to tear them apart . . . and to make Bianca question everything she's ever believed.

Additional Information: A sneak peek of the Evernight prologue can be read here.

My Review: The first chapter starts off with Bianca packing up a bag and planning to run away. Well, not so much run away ... but get away for a while to prove a point to her parents - she really doesn't want to attend Evernight. She's haunted by a dream that she has and that makes her literally start running from the school wants she sneaks out. During her run, she notices the figure of a man that starts running after her. Eventually, she is tackled and you are introduced to Lucas - who thought she was running from someone. They have a nice conversation and return back to school. From then until she meets him again, Bianca is pretty much obsessed with seeing Lucas again. She's the shy, quiet type that doesn't seem to know how to make friends, which makes her dependence on Lucas that much stronger. Bianca does eventually meet and make friends which includes Balthazar, who shows interest in Bianca. Bianca and Lucas eventually confess their feelings to one another, and then get in a fight on their first date away from Evernight. This leads into Balthazar taking Bianca to the Autumn Ball - where, for the first time, she feels like a part of the school. This leads into her thinking about Lucas and his unwillingness to fit it, which becomes too much for her and she asks to go outside with Balthazar. There, she tells him about her attraction to Lucas and Balthazar tells her they will remain friends. Enter Lucas, along with a twist that pretty much turns everything upside down for the reader. From here, I can't tell you much without some spoilers. However, I will say that you learn that Bianca fits more into the school than she admits, and her relationship with Lucas gets a lot more complicated as you continue to read on. Lucas also has a secret that is revealed later on that divides them even more. Well, for a little bit, anyways. ;)

I must say, I started reading this book with little hope because I wasn't all that impressed with the cover. Sure it's shiny and colorful, which is what attracted me to it, but after reading the book ... I honestly feel as though a cover like the one on Fallen might actually fit better. The prologue to the story doesn't give you a good start for the story, however it is an excerpt that is further along into the story - so it keeps you interested and wanting to read more. Your reading the story from Bianca's point of view, which is limited in some ways, but it's elaborate enough to let you know pretty much everything that is going on. The twist around chapter eight or so lets you know that Bianca knew something that wasn't told until then, but it did have that "OMG"-factor that made it worth it. The characters ... I loved them. They weren't too over-the-top, nor were they too vague. The only flaw I found was the whole neediness Bianca had for Lucas through about half of the book, but it did dwindle through the rest ... so, I'm chalking that one up to jitters of a new school. I also have a fond place in my heart for Balthazar, who is very mature and dependable throughout the whole book. The plot was decent and sets the series up well. The ending was very heart-warming and, again, set up for the next book. I don't think I can do this book justice with this review. I honestly can't believe that it's been out since 2008 and I have just now heard about it!

Rating: - In my heart of hearts, I have to give this book five stars. I know the book is cliche; yes it's another book about vampires and the forbidden teen love, yadda yadda yadda. The first 100 or so pages, while not really filled with any type of action and it's pretty predictable what type of school they're in, sets up the story well. Once the first big secret is out, you'll look back and think, "Why didn't I notice this?!" Maybe it should have been very obvious to me, but it wasn't ... and I absolutely love things that catch me off guard. After that, you have action, you get more background history, and you have a light read that keeps you reading until the very end. Ultimately, what made me give this book 5 stars is the one point in my rating system that was necessary for a 5 star book - after I was done, I immediately picked up my phone and sent my BFF a text to tell her she needs the book.

I told everyone from the beginning that I wasn't going to go into a book with comparisons to others, and hopefully I'm proving that with this first review. While I could have compared this to several books, I refuse to. It needs to be judged by what it is ... a book by a relatively new author that deserves a clean slate to start from.

Summary: This book is ultimately about a girl beginning a new school and finding that one true love that she knows she shouldn't love, but she cannot deny their attraction for one another. The story follows their struggles, along with revealing their true selves and what makes their love so forbidden.

Target Audience: People who love reading paranormal romances on a young adult level. If you like vampires and romance, you'll love this book.

Source of Book: This book was given to me as a Christmas gift.

Other Books By Author: Stargazer (Book #2 of Evernight series) is also available for purchase. As soon as I get through some other promised reviews, then I can promise that it will be added to my list as well. Claudia Gray also has a story in the Immortal: Love Stories With Bite and Vacations From Hell anthologies.


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