Book Review: Spellbound
By: Cara Lynn Shultz
Published By: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: June 2011
Buy it at Amazon
Source: Provided by Publisher via NetGalley
Audience: Young Adult
This was another one of those books that started out so slow for me. I kept putting it down to find other things to occupy my time. The beginning was a mixture of Gossip Girl, Mean Girls, and some hints that at some point witches would come on the scene. I really questioned several times whether this read was truly worth my time when so many other books were begging for my attention. The answer - YES. Spellbound took some time and effort on my part, but eventually I was so wrapped up in the characters and plot that I couldn't put it down. This book proves the old saying that good things come to those who wait. Patience, grasshopper. This read is worth your energy.
I first picked up Spellbound because I knew it would have something to do with witches based on the book summary and title. Now before you go getting all excited I do need to mention two key points. One, these are not Harry Potter-esque witches at all; these are more like New York society outcasts who must rise up against the social oppression of an elitist high school hierarchy. Second, even though this book claims to be about witches - there is very little witchcraft that takes place during the course of the novel. It's almost as if the whole witch notion is an after thought - it was not a driving factor for me as I read. I know it sounds like I am totally hating on this read, but I honestly did love it. I just needed to bring up some misconceptions I had about the book.
The premise behind Spellbound is one that was so interesting for me. It revolves around legends and a family curse. As family curses often go - this one is a result of love and selfishness. The sins of the past have come to haunt the future in a big way and unfortunately poor Emma, our main character, is stuck right in the path of the curse. Can she find a way to stop it before it destroys her?
I also really loved the characters in this one. So often in books, the characters can keep me invested in a story even when the action slows down. Emma is a likable main character who is down to earth and real. She struggles with feeling self conscious as the new girl in school and having to deal with a troubled past. Her only desire is to start fresh in her new school, but some of the girls at her new scholastic abode can't let her just blend in. Furthermore, she has the pesky attraction to Brendan Salinger, resident heart breaker, that she just can't seem to shake. Brendan is one of those literary boys that will steal your heart with one wink of his green eye. He is just that smooth. He alone makes this book worth reading.
I am a sucker for stories about true love and soul-mates. I can't help myself. Some people have a sweet tooth - I have a soul-mate craving. Spellbound delivers on that in a big way. So, if you're in the mood for a romantic read with a bit of fate thrown in the mix - Spellbound is the book for you.
One Last Gripe: I got annoyed with the constant name dropping - Facebook, Designer Brands, etc. - it felt too reminiscent of The Blue Bloods series and Gossip Girl. The name dropping annoyed me in those series as well. I also think in the long run that will date a book and make it less appealing to future audiences.
My Favorite Thing About This Book: I can't pick just one thing. I really loved the legend that creates the central core of this story. I also loved Emma's humor. That girl had me cracking up. For example, there is a scene in the beginning when Emma's cousin, Ashley, is spraying her with perfume before she talks to a hot boy. Emma responds with "Oh, come on, Ash, that smells like a unicorn fart." Our girl just has a way with words that makes me giggle.
First Sentence: It's always embarrassing to have someone take you to school.
Favorite Character: Emma
Least Favorite Character: Kristen
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 Connor, 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.