Beautiful Creatures

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Product Details from Barnes and Noble.com

  • Pub. Date: September 2010
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • Format: Paperback, 563pp
  • Sales Rank: 19,625
  • Age Range: Young Adult
Summary:
Beautiful Creatures tells the story of Ethan and Lena.  Ethan has lived in the same small Southern town all of his life.  He feels like he is different from those around him, but he just doesn’t understand how until Lena comes to town as a new student.
Lena is gorgeous, but she is from the wrong family.  Her uncle is compared to Boo Radley because he never leaves his house.  This causes all of the students to shun Lena because she is different from them.  Ethan is the one exception.  When there is an incident at school and Lena runs out, Ethan follows after her and their friendship begins.
As their relationship continues, Ethan finds out that Lena is a castor and on her 16th birthday she will either become a light or a dark castor.  She is terrified of becoming a dark castor, so Ethan tries to help her find a way that she will be able to choose to be light.  This leads them to scary family members, town uproars, mysterious libraries, ghosts, and more.
My Response:
Overall, I really enjoyed this book.  My favorite parts dealt with the poetry and song lyrics that helped lead the story along.  Even at the end, the song that ends up on Ethan’s iPod foreshadows the next book.  I think that the song lyrics help unravel the mystery of what is happening to Lena.  It was nice to flip back through to the lyrics to try to figure out what new turns the book was going to take.
The love story between Ethan and Lena goes a little too fast for me.  It seems like they are friends and then all of a sudden they are close to being intimate and can’t live without one another.  I suppose that a lot of teenage relationships are like that, but Lena is portrayed as a much more mature girl.  The decisions that she makes at 16 are going to effect the rest of her life and possibly her family’s life.  So, I think that she should be capable of having a clear head when it comes to making life decisions in her relationship.  Also, it seems that she goes from not wanting to have any type of relationship with him to expecting to spend the rest of her life with him.  I often have a hard time with books that do that sort of thing.  I like teenage romance, but I want to see them develop instead of have dramatic changes that will basically change the life of the character.
Another thing that I didn’t really like about the book was that the time seems to stop or fly by.  There wasn’t a consistency in the passage of time, so at one point I was confused to how close I was to reading about Lena’s birthday.  It seemed like a few days lasted for most of the book, and then seven months passed.  In my opinion, that takes away from the development of the characters and may be one of the reasons why I think that their relationship blossoms too quickly.  I don’t want them to spend an equal amount of time on each month, or week, or day, but I at least want to have some clue that time has passed and there were events that happened in that time.  Even if there is a paragraph or something before the next big event to let me know what has happened in the last three months, I want something that keeps me up to date on each main character.
This has been added to my shelf in my classroom library, and I look forward to the sequel Beautiful Darkness that releases in about a month (Oct. 12).  I loved the bits of history and mystery that ties the supernatural aspects together and it was an entertaining book.
4 out of 5 Stars
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