I picked up Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus from a recommendation on goodreads. I was extremely surprised at what I found. Here is the summary from Amazon:
“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.”
I finished this book in one sitting and it wasn’t a short quick read. I really liked the science aspect of gene mutation mixed in with the magic paranormal side. I am a huge comic book fan and having the somewhat comic book science plot added to the paranormal one simply created a great story.
The characters were very well developed. Even the ones on the sidelines were given personalities and discussed. I found the independence of Phe added to the realism of the relationships within the book. Her strength and kindness to all those around her endears her to the reader.
I also found that the plot was not as predictable as most paranormal reads. There are several mysteries within the one book and you are left guessing which way each will end up. I will say that I did figure out the ending a bit early but overall I was kept on my toes.
I give Shadow Hills a 5/5 with some bonus points for the length and depth of the story. I highly recommend this read as it is different from the traditional boarding school paranormal story.