By Holly Hood
4 out of 5
Hope didn’t ask for so much change in her life. She was happy living in Georgia for the rest of her life. Focusing on the things she loved the most: singing, dancing, and her best friend Karsen. This was effortless, she had no worries.
But all that changed when her mother decided to leave her dad for Pete, the Tae Kwon do instructor. And now Hope had to choose between staying where she belonged or moving far away to Cherry California with her dad.
After making the choice to move far away, to protect her father, Hope realizes Cherry is nothing like the hometown she’s used to. Everyone is rude, high class and she doesn’t fit in. Not until Slade comes along. He has never fit in and he is okay with that. And Hope is fascinated by everything that Slade is. All the way down to his tattoos and bat wielding rescue the first time they meet.
She knows she should stay far away from him, but it proves tricky as she discovers dark secrets about the town and people in Cherry, California. Hope doesn’t know who to trust as her life takes a turn from ordinary and depressing to dangerous and wild.
Hmm, three or fours stars...
I want to give four stars, I couldn't put it down, and the story expertly kept you guessing the whole way through. The characters felt well-rounded, and they each had their own drive, their own secrets.
I loved the relationship between Hope and her dad, how much she loves him, and how much she gives up for him. That their roles are reversed, and Hope is often left feeling like the parent. It all felt very real.
And as for her relationships with Slade and Tucker... definitely hot. I liked that both guys were imperfect, that Tucker was a rich prick; and Slade a tattooed, pierced, and morally questionable. Again, Hood manages to keep it realistic, with her 17 year old protagonist indecisive and awkward around both of them. And there is a delicious slow build in her relationship with Slade, and even after hot sex, she maintains an innocent and unsure attitude.
Then the magic. The reader learns at the same pace as Hope, and I find it all very nicely done, without being too heavy-handed with the witches and magic. I think Hope's tattoo is really sweet and smart, and I have to confess I found myself laughing aloud the first time with the underwear. Now that is a neat trick.
But there were parts of it that makes me want to rate a little lower. Nothing major, just niggling things that stopped the flow a little bit. Of course, there were the odd bits of grammar and spelling. There were a few instances of the entirely wrong word being used, and sometimes the wrong name. There were the occasional sentences that looked like they had been partly rewritten, and didn't make perfect sense. Oh, and a common lack of paragraph breaks between different characters speaking.
The age thing bothered me. I'm not sure how the American school system works, but when Slade says that he's 20 in the beginning of the book (though he tells Hope's dad he's 19 later on), and that he and his older sister went to the same school and were friends with Tucker and co., whom I'm guessing are the same age as Hope... I had to tell the logical side of my brain to shut up and let me enjoy the story.
The same logical side of my brain that had a problem comprehending why Slade would alter the memories and intentions of Tucker at the end of the book. He could have done so a year ago after the death of his friend, and then saved himself a lot of bother. *shrug* of course, that wouldn't have made for quite as dramatic a story.
As I say, mere technicalities, nothing detrimental to a fabulous story.
Yup, I'm feeling generous, let's go for the four stars.