Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Book Review: Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus

Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus
Publisher: Egmont USA
Publish Date: July 13, 2010
Hardcover, 400 pages

My Review:
I enjoyed this book so much.  It has my favorite young adult setting - a private school.  It has a gothic feel about it, the school and town have secrets, there is a graveyard and just a mystery to the place.  It has a strong female lead character who still acts female.  It has a hot guy (actually several).  It has devious bad guys.  Add to all of that a fast-paced plot and to me you have an excellent book.

Phe is a great character - she is trying to figure out why her sister wanted to go to Devenish Prep before she died.  She also wants to know why she and her sister were having the same dreams.  Now that her sister is dead and her parents are deep in their mourning, Phe heads off to Devenish Prep to track down the answers.  I love that the cliques aren't the main thing in this book - cliques are obvious but not in a Gossip Girl/The Clique kind of way.  This story is more about the mystery and Phe finding out who she is than about the social interactions.

The mystery is great - every time I thought I had something figured out, a curve ball was thrown my way and that kept me guessing through the book.  I liked finding out little by little about the town, the school and it's inhabitants.  It had a kind of Blue Bloods feel to it while remaining completely different.

If you love young adult novels with a paranormal twist you will like this - but be prepared, this isn't your average light young adult novel - this is a little darker and more serious.  It's a clean book, I don't remember anything being outstanding as something I wouldn't want my 9-year-old to read (though he is too young for this book).

So check it out - if you like the more serious YA books then this is one for you.  I am looking forward to the series continuing and will snap up the next book as soon as it comes out (at least I am assuming it will be a series, while the ending tied everything up nicely it still appears there is more to come.)

My Rating:  4.5/5.0

About the Book:
His love captivated her... his secrets might kill her.

Since her sister’s mysterious death, Persephone “Phe” Archer has been plagued by a series of disturbing dreams. Determined to find out what happened to her sister, Phe enrolls at Devenish Prep in Shadow Hills, Massachusetts—the subject of her sister’s final diary entry.

After stepping on campus, Phe immediately realizes that there’s something different about this place—an unexplained epidemic that decimated the town in the 1700s, an ancient and creepy cemetery, and gorgeous boy Zach—and somehow she’s connected to it all.

But the more questions she asks and the deeper she digs, the more entangled Phe becomes in the haunting past of Shadow Hills. Finding what links her to this town…might cost her her life.

About the Author:
Anastasia Hopcus wrote her first book in the 2nd grade.  It was titled Frederick the Friendly French Ferret and was seven pages long. During high school she wrote numerous short stories and started (but never finished) three screenplays, all as an alternative to doing actual schoolwork. At the very wise age of twelve her career ambition was to drive a Mack truck, but when that didn't pan out, she tried acting, bartending, and being a receptionist in a dojo before finally returning to writing. Anastasia loves horror movies, Joss Whedon, obsessing over music, and British accents.  She lives in Austin, Texas, and Shadow Hills is her debut novel. You can visit Anastasia at her website www.anastasiahopcus.com.

FTC Information: I received this book from 1-ARC-Tours for review.  I have Amazon links on my review pages but I do not make any money from these because of NC laws.  I put them solely for people to check out the books on a retail site.



~The Book Pixie said...

OMG, I sooo totally want to read this! Especially after that fantabulous review. It sounds like the perfect book for me.

"It has a strong female lead character who still acts female."

^-Rare thing these days in YA and this is one quality that really has me wanting this book. Plus I love a book that keeps me guessing. :D Thanks for the review.


Cackleberry Homestead said...


Thanks for the comment. You know when I wrote that line about a strong female lead character who still acts female I wondered if that would make sense and resonate with anyone else and I'm glad to hear it does. I was afraid people would think that was a stupid statement. You are right - it is rare these days and I really appreciated it in this book.

Manderiffic said...

Ooo thanks for telling me about this one! I just sent a request to Egmont. :)

Michelle Stockard Miller said...

Great review Crystal! I'm next in line for this for a blog tour and I can't wait to read it!

Katy said...

I've been wanting to read this one. Great review! :)

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