Book Review: Haven
By: Kristi Cook
Published by: Simon Pulse
US Release date: Feb. 22, 2011
Buy it at Amazon
HS YA- some strong language
Source: I own it
Summary from Goodreads:
One month into her junior year, sixteen-year-old Violet McKenna transfers to the Winterhaven School in New York’s Hudson Valley, inexplicably drawn to the boarding school with high hopes. Leaving Atlanta behind, she’s looking forward to a fresh start--a new school, and new classmates who will not know her deepest, darkest secret, the one she’s tried to hide all her life: strange, foreboding visions of the future.
But Winterhaven has secrets of its own, secrets that run far deeper than Violet’s. Everyone there--every student, every teacher--has psychic abilities, 'gifts and talents,' they like to call them. Once the initial shock of discovery wears off, Violet realizes that the school is a safe haven for people like her. Soon, Violet has a new circle of friends, a new life, and maybe even a boyfriend--Aidan Gray, perhaps the smartest, hottest guy at Winterhaven.
Only there’s more to Aidan than meets the eye--much, much more. And once she learns the horrible truth, there’s no turning back from her destiny. Their destiny. Together, Violet and Aidan must face a common enemy--if only they can do so without destroying each other first.
I have to thank my friend Cindy for bullying me into buying and reading this book. Sometimes it really pays to have your friends recommend books; this was definitely one of those times!
First, I have to own up to the fact that this book is exactly my kind of reading: hot, smart boy who knows the girl deserves better than him, girl in a vulnerable place in her life, mysterious and life-threatening circumstances, kids who have special talents, yet develop great normal friendships, Paranormal bad guys out to get the hot boy, intense romance element, including several highly anticipated sweet, swoon-worthy kisses. Deliciousness.
Next, I have to give the author her due: the pacing and structure of this book are extraordinarily good. The chapters flow beautifully from one to the next. The plot is set up quickly, and the first 100 pages are not unnecessarily bogged down with voluminous exposition- the story gets moving very early on, and rarely is there a lull. The suspense builds and the action gets more intense, as does the anticipation of the development of the relationship between the main characters. I chewed through the book’s 416 pages, only stopping when necessary to grab a drink/snack/potty break- then I was immediately back in my chair with the book, trying to figure out how to savor it while wanting to rush on to see what happens next.
Be ready to deal with the comparisons you’ll make in your head to some of your favorite YA paranormal novels. For me, this is a perfect marriage of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight and Lauren Kate’s Fallen. I’ve talked to others who see bits of other novels in there as well. The thing is, this book will draw those comparisons because it has all our favorite qualities, all in one lovely, satisfying package.
The only frustration I experienced was when I finally finished the book, and I still had questions, but no sequel at hand. Several small trails in the storyline are unresolved- not major plot points, but interesting side stories that the reader is left to ponder. Did he? Are they? There are several possibilities for more novels set in this world. And I want all of them, right now. Kristi, I hope you are writing!!
Anyone who likes YA paranormal needs to read this. Seriously- now. Go get it.