Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

There were no surprises in Gatlin County. We were pretty much the epicenter of the middle of nowhere. At least that’s what I thought. Turns out, I couldn’t have been more wrong.  There was a curse. There was a girl. And in the end, there was a grave.”
 
Ethan Wate plans to escape his small southern town as soon as possible. That is until the girl he has been dreaming of (literally) walks into his school. Lena Duchannes is dark and mysterious and Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her. To make matters worse, she lives in the creepy mansion at the edge of town with her recluse uncle that no one has seen for years.
 
Ethan soon learns that Lena comes from a family of “casters,” more commonly known as witches, and Lena may be the most powerful of them all.  But danger looms just days away. On her 16th birthday  Lena will be claimed light or dark and the choice is not hers to make.
 
I really enjoyed the blend of a dark Gothic supernatural world with a simple southern town. As a lover of southern literature, I really appreciated the nod to the history and magic of the south. Beautiful Creatures is a young adult book that can be enjoyed by all ages. The themes of light and dark, old and new, and the power of both magic and love resonates with readers. I have to admit, in the current trend of turning every book into at least a trilogy, part of me wished this was a stand alone book but the characters are interesting enough to carry it through a few more stories.

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