Friday, May 13, 2011

Spellbound by Cara Lynn Schultz

I found Spellbound through NetGalley and loved the cover. The summary that is given on both Amazon and NetGalley is a little vague and had me concerned this was another Romeo and Juliet type story where they couldn’t be together. It is similar but isn’t ultimately the same. Here’s the description from Amazon:

What's a girl to do when meeting The One means she's cursed to die a horrible death?
Life hasn't been easy on sixteen-year-old Emma Conner, so a new start in New York may be just the change she needs. But the posh Upper East Side prep school she has to attend? Not so much. Friendly faces are few and far between, except for one that she's irresistibly drawn to—Brendan Salinger, the guy with the rock-star good looks and the richest kid in school, who might just be her very own white knight.
But even when Brendan inexplicably turns cold, Emma can't stop staring. Ever since she laid eyes on him, strange things have been happening. Streetlamps go out wherever she walks, and Emma's been having the oddest dreams: visions of herself in past lives—visions that warn her to stay away from Brendan. Or else.

I really feel that this summary does not do the story justice so I am going to attempt to add some information that I feel is really good to the story. Emma is a survivor. She has survived a drunk stepfather and the loss of her mother. Emma moves in with her wealthier family members in New York for a fresh start where she meets Brendan. They are mysteriously drawn to each other and as they grow closer someone is trying to warn Emma of the danger of a curse. If being together means suffering from a curse is it really worth it?

Shultz weaves an incredible love story that is believable for such young teenagers. The love between Emma and Brendan is both intense and sweet. Emma is a great lead because while she doesn’t conform to the typical cliques in high school, she is still social and isn’t the typical outcast or martyr. She fits in without having to be a part of any one group.

I also like that this is a self-contained novel. It doesn’t appear to be a series but it could be expanded into one later. This is a refreshing twist to the paranormal genre. Additionally, this book has barely a touch of paranormal to it. If you are looking for a heavily paranormal book then this probably isn’t the right one for you. While there are some plot points that lean that way, it definitely doesn’t dominate the story.
I do wish some of the secondary characters were fleshed out a little more. You see a lot of Emma and Brendan, but you don’t really get insight into the other characters. Overall I give this book a 5/5 for a great story and strong leads.

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