Since her sister's mysterious death, Persephone "Phe" Archer has been plagued by a series of disturbing dreams. Determined to find out what happened to her sister, Phe enrolls at Devenish Prep in Shadow Hills, Massachusetts--the subject of her sister's final diary entry.
After stepping on campus, Phe realizes that there's something very different about this place--an unexplained epidemic that decimated the town in the 1700s, an ancient and creepy cemetery, and gorgeous boy Zach--and somehow she's connected to it all.
But the more questions she asks and the deeper she digs, the more entangled Phe becomes in the haunting past of Shadow Hills. Finding what links her to this town . . . might destroy her.
Title: Shadow Hills
Author: Anastasia Hopcus
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal
Publication Date: July 13, 2010
Source: Bought. This review is part of the Shadow Hills blog tour hosted by Teen Book Scene. Tour details can be found here.
My rating: 4/5
Phe is on a mission to find out what happened to her sister after her untimely demise, and decides to enroll in a boarding school that Athena had written about in her journal. Once Phe arrives, she immediately has more questions than answers. Everything just seems off, and Phe wants to get to the bottom of it all.
Phe is a strong, smart, and sassy character. I really enjoyed reading her quips and found that I could identify with her easily in that sense. She would have a comment ready for any occasion, and I really enjoy how she interacted with certain characters. I loved her relationship with Zach, but Corinne, Zach's sister, is another story entirely. She's quite the abrupt, haughty person, and she doesn't hide her feelings whatsoever. Zach and Corinne are complete opposites too, and it was interesting to see how they interacted with each other as well.
One of my favourite aspects though, apart from the setting and the overall mysterious and suspenseful vibe that is portrayed throughout, was that I had a hard time predicting everything. Normally I can guess way in advance what I think is going to happen, and usually I'm right. With this book, I found that I couldn't do that. Certain characters are easy to figure out while others are not. The mystery will definitely keep you guessing.
I really enjoyed the supernatural nuances to this one as well, and think that it was skillfully melded into the story. Hopcus has created something completely original, making this a fresh and vibrant read. I absolutely love her world, and hope to see more from Shadow Hills in the future.
All in all, a well-established premise, and driving plot will have the reader racing to finish this one so they can figure out what happens. The characters affability and interactions with each other will also entertain and amuse. An exceedingly well-crafted debut!