Author: Tessa Gratton
Publication: Random House Books for Young Readers (May 24, 2011)
Description: This page-turning debut novel will entice fans who like their paranormal romances dark and disturbing. It's a natural next-read for fans of Stephanie Meyer, Carrie Jones, and Becca Fitzpatrick. But instead of mythical creatures, blood magic has everything to do with primal human desires like power, wealth, and immortality. Everywhere Silla Kennicott turns she sees blood. She can't stop thinking about her parents alleged murder-suicide. She is consumed by a book filled with spells that arrives mysteriously in the mail. The spells share one common ingredient: blood, and Silla is more than willing to cast a few. What's a little spilled blood if she can uncover the truth? And then there's Nick—the new guy at school who makes her pulse race. He has a few secrets of his own and is all too familiar with the lure of blood magic. Drawn together by a combination of fate and chemistry, Silla and Nick must find out who else in their small Missouri town knows their secret and will do anything to take the book and magic from Silla.
My Thoughts: I thought this young adult debut novel was excellent. I loved the magic and that there were no paranormal creatures. All of the heroes and villains were humans. Silla is reeling from being the one to discover her parents' bodies after what looks like a murder-suicide. She has withdrawn from friends, lost weight, hacked off her hair, and is struggling to understand what could have happened. Then she receives a spell book in the mail from someone called The Deacon and sees that it is in her father's handwriting.
Nick has come to the same small town because he inherited his grandfather's house. He didn't really know him. His few brief visits with his mother when he was a child have just about disappeared from his memory. Now his mother is gone away and he lives with his lawyer-father and his father's new wife. He is feeling upset and angry that he has been brought to this town from Chicago with only part of his senior year yet to complete.
They meet when he sees her trying out the spell book in the cemetery that is between their two houses. Silla spends a lot of time there at her parents' graves. Watching Silla brings back memories of his mother and magic that he hadn't thought about in years.
The viewpoints in the story alternate between this two characters. But there is a third voice in the story. We get a chance to see diary entries from Josephine Darly who intends to live forever. These diary entries tell about learning about magic with Philip Osborn. He was a doctor who took her - a poor factory worker - from a hospital ward where fever victims were isolated until she died. She learns and also falls in love with Philip. Through the entries we learn about Josephine's magical education and her determination to live forever no matter what the cost.
Nick and Silla fall in love as they do a variety of spells to learn more about the magic and what happened to Silla's parents. They also have to determine who their hidden enemy is.
I loved the characters of Silla and Nick and really loved the story. I recommend this book to young adults who love magic and romance.
Just like the spell book, he'd dropped into my life when I was only trying to forget everything and survive. The book tempted me with answers. With the possibility of a real explanation for my parents' deaths. With magic. What was Nick tempting me with? Everything I'd given up while kneeling in their blood? Everything that had melted out of me to make room for the smell and the fear. Fun, laughter, dating, driving fast, imagining next year and the next with hope--I received this ARC from Amazon Vine. You can get it at Amazon in hardcover or for your Kindle.