Thursday, June 10, 2010

Review: Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus (ARC)

Title: Shadow Hills
Series: N/A
Book #: One
Author: Anastasia Hopcus
Source: On Tour from YA Addict
Published: 2010

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.

(taken from

Amber's thoughts:
While I may not have given this book a high score, I did enjoy it. Shadow Hills was flawed, but it also contained some well-developed and endearing characters. The intriguing mystery will keep you guessing until the end, which leaves you hoping for a sequel.

The biggest problem I had with this book was the lack of originality. The beginning of the story had a great set up- Phe's sister dies, and Phe discovers that her sister was dreaming about a mysterious school. This is the same school that Phe's been dreaming about. That part of the novel definitely had me captivated. By the time the book was half over, I felt like I'd seen so many of the elements before. The mysterious boarding school with a haunting past, the boy whom the main girl is forbidden to love, etc. Hopcus definitely has talent in the writing department, and if she continues to expand on her ideas, the sequels might be a bit more original. 

The main character, Phe, was funny and gutsy. Her impulsiveness got on my nerves some, but overall, I didn't mind her as the main character. Phe's romantic interest, Zach, was definitely one of my favorite characters. Loyal, sweet, and protective, he's almost a little too perfect (in a good way, if that makes any sense...). 

I'm really hoping that this book is followed by a couple of sequels. Hopcus set up a lot of wonderful ideas in this first book, and if she continues to expand on them, I think we could all be in for a real treat. Overall, Shadow Hills was a promising beginning to a potentially wonderful series.