In case there aren't enough reasons that I love book blogging, one more to add to the list is that I love discovering new titles from other book bloggers. Shadow Hills is a tile that I knew nothing about until Casey over at The Bookish Type brought it to my attention.
Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus tells the story of L.A. teenager Persephone "Phe" Archer who enrolls in a Massachusetts boarding school after the death of her older sister. Her new home is in the town of Shadow Hills and she soon discovers strange things about the local students - including that they're all descendants of survivors of a plague that hit the town in the 1700's. Of course, even aside from her strange classmates, Phe has enough oddity to deal with due to her ongoing nightmares that seem a little too realistic to ignore.The more I read blogs and connect with other readers on the web, the more I value hearing about new titles from other people. With so many new books hitting the market every day it's impossible to keep track of everything that sounds read-worthy. Who do you usually hear about new releases from? Bloggers? Librarians? Bookstore employees?
I love the suspense and the mystery that was drawn into this novel. Hopcus easily could have created another vampire or werewolf story, but instead takes a fresh and original approach to supernatural abilities. She even manages to ground the paranormal aspects of the story in solid science, lending an air of believability to the fantasy elements of the book. The story was well told and the ending is solid - Hopcus could easily write a sequel, but the book lacks nothing as a stand alone work.
I really enjoyed the writing style also, and felt that Hopcus did a wonderful job creating deep characters and a vividly detailed setting. Phe is a multi-faceted protagonist and she has a solid narrative voice. Her emotions are realistic and her backstory, complete with mistakes she admits and learns from, was well-developed. Shadow Hills was a great novel and easily stands as one of this year's most unique and intriguing young adult urban fantasy books.