Thursday 8 July 2010

Book Review: Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus.

Product details:
Publisher: Egmont USA.
Hardcover, 400 pages.
Release date: July 13th 2010.
Ages: 12+
Rating: 4½ out of 5.

Summary from Goodreads:

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.

Shadow Hills has been a hotly anticipated 2010 release around the blogosphere, and now I know why! Anastasia Hopcus has delivered a great story combining elements of gothic mystery with Greek mythology, shady town secrets, great characters, and one of the hottest YA romances I’ve read in a while. If you’ve been getting a little tired of the same old paranormal romance, then this book is for you. I can guarantee you won’t have read anything quite like it before! I raced through this book in one sitting, and have been totally left wanting more!

I liked the character of Phe right from the start. She’s come to Shadow Hills to attend Devenish Prep, the subject of her dead sister Athena’s last diary entry, and the place that has been haunting her dreams. Phe is a great protagonist - her character is so well written, and she’s very likeable and easy to relate to. I also loved the fact that Phe is by no means perfect. She’s a complex character,  who is dealing with a lot of grief, she makes mistakes, likes to party, and takes a lot of risks.

One thing I really loved about Shadow Hills is that it has a great cast of characters all round. I really love character driven novels, and I often complain when I finish a book and don’t feel like I know the characters at all. That didn’t happen here. Even the fringe characters are beautifully described. Phe has  some great  friends, each with their own unique personality and quirks. I particularly loved reading about Adriana, who I thought was going to be a stereotypical beautiful ‘mean girl‘, but turned out to be one of the characters who made me laugh the most, and the opposite to what I was expecting. I also loved that the not-so-nice characters in this book were not just one-dimensional, and pure evil. Even the ultimate villain of the piece has understandable motivations, while Zach’s cousin Trent and sister Corinne are just characters you will love to hate!

I have to mention the relationship between Phe and Zach. These two are instantly drawn to each other, and their romance is hot. Phe falls hard for Zach, and he sounds totally dreamy, but I liked the fact that in embarking on this relationship, she didn’t ditch her friends like so many other characters in YA fiction. And why would she ditch these friends? They are awesome!

I loved that the story of Shadow Hills was completely unique. Often when I pick up YA fiction these days, I am just waiting until I encounter a vampire, werewolf, fairy or angel - that’s all well and good, but sometimes you want something a little different, and that’s provided here. This was such a refreshing read, with a really interesting storyline that is meticulously researched. This book kept me guessing right to the end. There are lots of twists and turns along the way, and more than a few surprises!

Overall, Shadow Hills is a great debut and one of my favourites of 2010. If you’re looking for a really great read with lots of mystery, suspense, action and romance, then this one is for you! Highly recommended!

--Stop by on Monday when I will have a great interview with Shadow Hills author Anastasia Hopcus on the blog! 

-- I've submitted this review to a new meme I'm taking part in today.  Stop over at Chrissie's Corner to see what it's all about!


  1. Hi Leanna,

    Thanks for taking part in Radiant Reviews :)

    I've had my eye on this book for a while now and reading your review has just made me want to read it even more! Great review!

  2. I am even more excited for this book now that I have read your review. I will definitely keep my eye out for your interview as well. That's awesome. Thanks for a great review!

  3. Love this review! It's so good to hear that the characters are well-developed. I don't normally read paranormal books, but I think I have to give Shadow Hills a try.

  4. I'm supposed to be on a tour for this one and I Really hope it finds it way here. Gothic, Mystery and Greek mythology...LOVE the sound of it.

  5. Great review - I was able to read this one on tour and loved it. It had everything, great characters, great plot and great suspense. I can't wait to read more from her.

  6. Oh, thanks for this awesome review! I just can't wait for my copy to arrive so I can read it, too. It sounds like it has everything a good YA Fantasy/Romance needs. :)

  7. I love character driven stories too and I am very anxious to read this. Terrific review.

  8. Gosh, I can't wait to read this book! I'm ordering my copy this weekend and am going to start reading this as soon as I get it. Absolutely adore Greek Mythology so I'm pretty sure I will love this book.


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