Author: Syrie James and Ryan M. James
Publication: HarperTeen; Original edition (January 24, 2012)
Description: She should not exist.
He should not love her.
Claire Brennan has been attending Emerson Academy for two years now (the longest she and her mom have remained anywhere) and she’s desperate to stay put for the rest of high school. So there’s no way she’s going to tell her mom about the psychic visions she’s been having or the creepy warnings that she’s in danger.
Alec MacKenzie is fed up with his duties to watch and, when necessary, eliminate the descendants of his angelic forefathers. He chose Emerson as the ideal hiding place where he could be normal for once. He hadn’t factored Claire into his plans. . . .
Their love is forbidden, going against everything Alec has been taught to believe. But when the reason behind Claire’s unusual powers is revealed and the threat to her life becomes clear, how far will Alec go to protect her?
My Thoughts: This was a very enjoyable paranormal romance that would be suitable for middle grade students as well as young adults. Claire is a junior in high school and a scholarship student at the prestigious Emerson Academy in Los Angeles. She is smart and has a couple of really good friends - Erika and Brian. She lives with her mother. She is hoping that they will be able to stay but she has no guarantees. She and her mother have moved seven times since she was born. Her mother seems to be on the run from something but Claire doesn't know what. All she knows is that her mother is very protective of her. She and her mother have a good relationship despite the secrets.
Strange things begin to happen when she gets her first period at the beginning of this story. She begins to see the occasional vision of past events and maybe even the future. Naturally, she shares this information with her best friends who both believe her, are supportive, and who help her try to find out what is happening. Also, a new boy has begun school and he and Claire find themselves sharing a locker and becoming friends.
Alec is on the run too. He is a Grigori - a descendant of angels - whose job was to track down and kill the Fallen - other descendants of angels who have become evil. Alec has been hunting the Fallen for almost 100 years and he is burned out and suffering from nightmares. He goes AWOL and decides to see what life would be like as a normal high school student. He is immediately attracted to Claire but doesn't know how to approach her. Claire begins by thinking that he is shy and klutzy and hard to get to know - but gorgeous!
But then the trouble that her mom is running from seems to catch up with them. Alec's mentor Victor tracks him down and tells him that he is on the hunt for one of the Nephilim - a child of a Grigori and a human. Nephilim are forbidden because they may have the power of the Grigori combined with human weaknesses. Most of them go bad. Victor tells him that the Nephilim is at his school. He says he won't turn Alec in to the Elders that govern the Grigori if he helps him identify the Nephilim.
It doesn't take long for Alec to realize that Claire is the nephila but he is determined to protect her from the Elders and the Fallen anyway. The two have a wonderful, sweet romance. I really liked Claire and Alec. And I really liked Claire's friends Erika and Brian. I like stories with good kids who are working hard and not afraid to be smart. Even the big man on campus and the object of Claire's long distance crush turns out to be a nice guy.
My one slight concern for the story is the number of references to Star Trek. I am an original Trekkie and got them but I am not sure how many of my students - beyond the full-blown nerds or geeks - would understand them. However, I think the strength of the relationships in the story and the romance will be enough to keep readers engaged. I know I couldn't put the book down and spent most of a day reading it.
I want a sequel! There are quite a number of unanswered questions at the end of this one. And, I liked the characters so much that I want to know what comes next for them.
"And even if vampires did exist -- which they don't -- there's no way Alec is one. Think about it: He walks around in broad daylight, and he doesn't (a) burst into flames, or (b) sparkle like a disco ball."I received this book in exchange for an honest review from Cara at Wunderkind PR because I reviewed one of Syrie's earlier books. You can buy your copy here.
"Have you read Dracula?" Claire asked. "Sunlight didn't affect him at all."
"Yeah, and he wasn't real either," Brian retaliated.