Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus
Publisher: Egmont USA
Publication Date: July 13th 2010
Buy it from: Book Depository (free shipping worldwide!)
Silver star (3/5 stars)
Synopsis: His love captivated her… his secrets might kill her.
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 immediately realizes that there’s something 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 cost her her life.
Review: While I’m totally keen on the book, I am not a fan of the tagline. “His love captivated her… his secrets might kill her.” Really? This forbidden love stuff is getting old. That aside, I loved where the book was set in. Massachusetts; a place I’ve been wanting to visit for a while now. The beginning was absorbing and creepily atmospheric and I adored the lush and vivid descriptions of the setting.
I have a confession to make: I thought Zach and Phe’s relationship progressed way to fast — to the extent that it was unbelievable. Their instant attraction and her dreams were not clearly explained and that frustrated me. Perhaps Hopcus is saving it for the sequel but the book would have been better if they were explained. The romance never pulled me in and I did not find myself rooting for these characters. At the beginning Zach was alright and I quite like him but as the story progressed and no explanation was provided, I began to find myself ticked by their interactions. While we were told that Zach was a hunk and absolutely droolworthy, I did not see past his exterior. I need a guy who has more than just good looks.
One thing that irked me the most about Shadows Hills was the lack of a concrete plot. While I saw Hopcus put effort into building up the world and the storyline, it fizzled out before the actual climax was reached. We are provided information about the town’s history every now and then but it was never fully explained. Some parts were agonizingly slow while the action scenes were short and fast. Character development was not well established and characters like Zach, Corrine and Trent were more not well fleshed out. The villains were cardboard characters and annoyingly predictable.
As much as I would like to say that I absolutely loved this book and recommend it to everyone, I won’t. Perhaps it’s just me, so give Shadows Hills a try if you enjoyed The Hollow, Twilight, Evermore and The Dark Divine. Picky readers, like me, probably would not enjoy this book as much. However, it was a good attempt and I’d love to read more of Hopcus’s works. In summary, Shadow Hills had a lot of potential but the ending ended up being cheesy and clichéd.
Sidenote: After reading the book, I still don’t understand the cover. Blah, not a fan of the cover.