Author: Alyson Noel
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Call number: YPB Noel
After Ever survives the car accident that kills her entire family, she moves to Southern California and starts over at a new school, where instead of being the beautiful and popular cheerleader she once was, she hides under baggy clothes and iPod headphones blaring loud music. This is because Ever is suddenly able to see the auras and hear the thoughts of people around her, and she can’t cope with the noise. Then a mysterious, gorgeous new boy starts at her school, and Ever is surprised when she can’t read his thoughts at all. Even weirder, when Damen touches her, the noise of everyone else’s thoughts quiet as well. Drawn together, Ever and Damen begin a relationship, but others are determined to stand in their way.
Quick verdict: I’ll be honest with you guys, I didn’t much like this book. However, that’s just me. Overall, this book will do well with paranormal romance readers and I would recommend it to readers who liked Twilight and want to read something similar. Eerily similar.
Everyone is comparing this book to Twilight, and I can’t say they’re wrong. Both books have the suddenly obsessive romance; the mysterious, perfect boy who vacillates between being stalkerish, rude, and charming; the girl who for some reason puts up with this behavior because of her starstruck interest in his mystery; and some secondary characters that don’t get much development, being there mostly for conflict or distraction.
Here’s what I did like:
Ever’s psychic abilities were interesting and made her less boring, even when she spent her time swooning over Damen. Her relationship with her dead sister Riley, who stayed behind when she died to keep Ever company, is the most successful and realistic one in the book — Riley is bratty and funny and supportive and has more personality then just about everybody else. Riley’s character arc is a strong part of the book, as she struggles with whether to stay there for Ever or cross to the other side. Ever’s two friends don’t get much story, but they were believable characters, especially as they related to each other and to Ever. (They were definitely better then Bella’s friends in Twilight.) Finally, I thought the reincarnation idea a unique one, including the existence of Summerland, even though I would have liked to see more of it.
Here’s what I didn’t like:
Damen doesn’t have any redeemable traits. He seems frustratingly shallow, mean, and self-absorbed. Maybe if he was a normal teenage boy that would be more believable, but his hot-and-cold attitude with Ever and his lame explanation for his awful behavior doesn’t make sense, given that he’s lived for a very, very long time. I would expect him to have more depth after living hundreds of years. His partner in immortality, Drina, is a stock villain of the worst type. I could practically see her twirling her mustache at the end when she finally confronted Ever and started monologuing.
What I had the most trouble with, however, is the idea of the Immortals. Yes, okay, they’re not vampires — except they ARE. They have the superior speed, strength, senses, appearance, and artistic or musical ability, as well as immortality. They don’t need to eat or, apparently, sleep. They are barely different, besides the blood-sucking (and turning the blood into a red liquid isn’t much of a change, really). Noel doesn’t spend any time developing her Immortals’ mythos, either — it’s muddled and derivative and doesn’t seem to have any internal logic. It bugs me that Damen could also turn Ever into an Immortal so easily. I don’t really get how it works. The idea could have been so much better if she’d bothered to do more then just re-brand the “romantic” vampire.