Wyldcliffe Abbey School for Young Ladies, housed in a Gothic mansion on the bleak northern moors, is elite, expensive, and unwelcoming. When Evie Johnson is torn away from her home by the sea to become the newest scholarship student, she is more isolated than she could have dreamed. Strict teachers, snobbish students, and the oppressive atmosphere of Wyldcliffe leave Evie drowning in loneliness.
Evie's only lifeline is Sebastian, a rebellious, mocking, dangerously attractive young man she meets by chance. As Evie's feelings for Sebastian grow with each secret meeting, she starts to fear that he is hiding something about his past. And she is haunted by glimpses of a strange, ghostly girl--a girl who is so eerily like Evie, she could be a sister. Evie is slowly drawn into a tangled web of past and present that she cannot control. And as the extraordinary, elemental forces of Wyldcliffe rise up like the mighty sea, Evie is faced with an astonishing truth about her own incredible fate.
Gillian Shields's electrifying tale will dazzle readers with suspense, mysticism, and romance.
Author: Gillian Shields
Genre: Young Adult, Witches
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (An Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers)
My Rating: 4/5
I really liked this book. I picked it up and was immediately drawn into Evie's world. I could imagine the isolation she felt as well as the beauty and danger of the land around her. I was drawn right in and held within the book's grasp, until maybe one third of the way through. The past is denoted in a journal which is presented in the book as flashbacks every so often. It, at times, was a (little) bit confusing as there was no explanation until later on. This caused the book to drag for a bit (not long), but once we find out certain elements of the story, any questions were cleared up. At this point, once everything is being clarified, the author reels us deeper into the story and doesn't let go until the end. The ending was left wide open for a second book, and I can't wait to read it. (There is no maybe, there HAS to be a second book.) I really enjoyed this book. The characters aren't perfect, and there are some minor bullies, but they don't compare to what is really out there after Evie. All in all, I'd say this was a good read, and I can't wait for the next installment. I'd recommend this book to anyone wanting a quick and easy read. It has romance, mystery, and witchcraft all bundled up in a gorgeous package. (I really love the cover for this book!)
Addendum: Yes, the romance was a bit contrived, and yes it was predictable in places, but I still really enjoyed it, at least the beginning and the last 150 pages or so. Please, don't base your opinions on all of the somewhat negative reviews out there. This one is still a pretty good book.
This book counts toward the 2010 100+ Reading Challenge over at J. Kaye's book blog.