Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus
Publisher: Egmont USA
Release date: July 13, 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.
Shadow Hills was an intense, romantic, and mysterious read. I loved every page! From the beginning Phe was a likable character, and readers can understand what she's going through even if they've never experienced it themselves. The thing I liked best about Phe was how independent and take-action she was, she didn't let anything stop her. Character development was one of my favorite parts of Shadow Hills, every character had a place in the novel and seemed so realistic and believable. Toy, Graham, Adriana, Sarah, Brody... each and every character had their place in the story. The mystery and suspense of trying to figure out what was happening not only to Phe, but to Shadow Hills and the students of Devenish Prep was so exciting and had me on the edge of my seat throughout the book. This wasn't your standard mystery novel, there were a lot of frightening paranormal elements that sent shivers down my spine. (Think creepy graveyard rituals at midnight)
There were a variety of sub plots and twists and turns in the story that left things unpredictable and there was even mythology and murder that added more suspense and intrigue. Not always knowing who to trust, Phe was getting really tangled in the mystery herself. Not only was she having frightening dreams and visions, but she was uncovering some disturbing things about the people of Shadow Hills.
In addition to the mystery angle, there was a great romance. Zach was a sweet and protective guy who obviously loved Phe and just wanted her to be safe. They were a great team. I loved the other characters as well, they were great friends to Phe and I especially enjoyed the scenes with Adriana. She was the perfect, bossy, rich girl, but I somehow found her really likable. On the flip side, the villains were really easy to dislike. They were slimy, deceptive and stopped at nothing to get what they wanted- not even murder.
In the end, Shadow Hills was a fast paced, enthralling read that will keep you up to all hours of the night, glued to the pages. It was a fantastic, well written debut with a terrific set of main characters. This is definitely a novel worth picking up in hardcover today!
Overall: 5 out of 5 stars