Between the Bookcovers

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Authors: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Published: September 14, 2010
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: Fantasy, Horror, Romance
Pages: 592
Rating: 4/5 stars

Description from Goodreads:

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

Ethan Wate cannot wait to get out of his small hometown, Gatlin, South Carolina, where things have remained the same since the War Between the States. But as he starts his junior year in high school things begin to change. He is grieving the death of his mother in a car accident. A new girl has started school and she immediately catches his attention. Lena is the niece of Macon Ravenwood, the town recluse. Soon everything he thought he knew about his small town will be turned upside down and he will never be the same.

When Lena arrives Ethan begins to have strange dreams about her. When they finally meet he realizes that they can communicate in their minds without speaking. Strange events start happening and Lena finally reveals that she is a Caster, or a modern day witch hiding in plain sight. She introduces Ethan to the parallel world of the supernatural that exists right in the streets of Gatlin, alongside the normal ordinary world that he has always known. Lena is about to turn sixteen and when she does her fate as a either a Light (good) or Dark (evil) Caster will be determined. But as the day approaches events occur that will change them both forever. To get into more detail would spoil the book, just know that there are lots of surprises along the way.

This is a tender, realistic love story that is told in the first person by Ethan, an unusual twist as these types of stories are usually told from the female point of view. The writing in the book is wonderful and a treat to read. Set in the Deep South, the authors make the town come alive with detailed descriptions, traditions and social norms one would expect to see in a small southern town. The fast moving events held my interest and kept me wondering what would happen until the very end. Also included is the theme of cruelty to anyone who is different than the norm, a timely topic with the current focus on bullies. The hypocrisy found in small minded people is also explored. At 592 pages, it is quite a bit longer than similar YA novels, but it allows for full story development and I enjoyed having the story told in such detail. I never felt like the story was too long or that pages were added just to make the novel longer.

The book was named a New York Times best youth book for 2009, a well deserved award. The ending screams for a sequel, and one has been released, Beautiful Darkness, which I will review later next week.

Rating: An excellent, fun read, you will enjoy this one


I loved this book too. You're right that it's long. Some people have thought it was too slow, but I agree with you. The writing is so rich with descriptions of Southern life and the Caster mythology that it doesn't drag.

About This Blog

I review mostly Young Adult literature, any genre. I also review other fiction, especially horror, science fiction and historical novels. I also have occasional giveaways.