Warning: Unlike my usual poetic book review, this is for YA fiction. Like a gruesome teenager, I make little to no sense in this blog, turn into an Edward superfan and have begun to glitter…(Damn, I wish I was with my girls at the Twilight premiere tonight. I’m not going to be able to read twitter for weeks.
We all fell for Edward
Then there was
Peeta or Gale.
And now we have Mr. Wate.
I’m such a silly high school girl who has crushes on literary characters. Wate had me at “beater” and the dreams where he wakes up with dirt underneath his fingernails, okay that one’s a little weird. I know I’ve come to this late, way late actually because there are already three books out. It’s like that time when I read The Hunger Games trilogy in a weekend and I made my boyfriend run to Walmart at 1230 at night to pick up strawberries and the third book. Yea, that’s what my grocery list looks like.
Beautiful Creatures was one of the first YA novels that I didn’t hold a good clue about the ending. Obviously, I was sure that the love story would keep playing out into the next two books, but the other people, Alma and Macon, I had no idea. I’m still upset about the ending a little, a sniffle of a little. I actually decided to read this book because I was seeing Paranormal Activity 4 with my boy (such a bust, don’t waste your money, it’s the third one with less excitement), and Beautiful Creatures had a preview. I’m usually not to keen about witch stories unless they have some witch who throws an apple into a banquet hall “for the fairest.” See: The Odyssey, The Trojan War, Snow White and a tad bit of Sleeping Beauty. I prefer the Grimm kind if you’d like to know.
Somehow this book just spoke to me, it was the right kind of witchy. We then, walked across the street to Target which only had the newest book and I scoped out the library early the next morning. Lucky me, people aren’t dying to read this book. I have a feeling it’s going to be a late bloomer like Twilight was. I read Twilight almost three years before it became TWILIGHTFANGIRLEDWARDJACOBEATYOURFACE! My dad thought the cover looked interesting (it wouldn’t surprise you to know that he read 50 Shades of Grey when it came out because of its daring and inspirational cover).
I like Beautiful Creatures because it’s the new stage of paranormal YA. Unlike Cinder, which I liked but thought was to easy to figure out, I like Beautiful Creatures because it was twisted, and complicated and only at page 407 did I realize a few key connections that would have helped me figure out the end. It became particularly clear in the last 100 pages, but I can guarantee my students would know nothing until the bitter, sour end. I’ve complained a lot about YA being too socially and emotionally low. It’s like they take a downer for adult fiction and create this easy to read and easy to figure out YA fiction. I don’t think YA should EVER EVER EVER be the “below average” and not complicated version of adult fiction. If anything, teens need more action and more intensity.
You should see how many tap dances I do at the front of my classroom everyday just to get my students interested in the classics. I had to have a Maycomb Pig Pickin’ to get my students to become a character in the To Kill a Mockingbird Trial and I when I explained the Trojan War, the way Paris abducted Helen from King Menelaus, I said, “and Menelaus was like Nawww Braahhh.” This is what I do in my classroom, this is how much it takes to get today’s students to look up from an exhilarating text message about last night’s “experiences” to actually learn something.
Students need books that make them want to keep turning the pages. Students need books that leave them imagining enough that they can taste the rain of the story, the watermarked, wrinkled pages of it. I moved on from Night with a test and a few vocabulary quizzes. My students had little to no empathy unless we were watching a horrific video about the Holocaust. However, Beautiful Creatures, now this would do it. Two of my girls were so excited to see Shine mention To Kill a Mockingbird and I was just pumped that they were excited over the book being mentioned, that they even remembered the title. Like Shine, Beautiful Creatures mentions To Kill a Mockingbird. I just mentioned like 9 books in 2 paragraphs, sorry.
Let’s get back to the creatures at hand. None of them glitter (well, maybe a little). None of them suck blood (except one member of team dark magic). The best thing about it is it has constant references to the American Civil War. I love a good petticoat and general’s uniform in my books. They even have a reenactment on the Night of Sweet Sixteen. Can you tell I’m excited by this book?
I wish I could tell you about it without giving too much away.
Here’s the hook: It has two libraries; a caster library which holds magical spell books and books filled with pressed flowers and herbs, and then a “normal” library with dusty history books, and people’s saved “just-in-case” tissues shoved into the cracks as a book mark. Hey, it’s better than using a dirty spoon.