Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Have Haven!

By: Kristi Cook
Reported by: Juli Helms

One month into her junior year, sixteen-year-old Violet McKenna transfers to the Winterhaven School in New York’s Hudson Valley, inexplicably drawn to the boarding school with high hopes. Leaving Atlanta behind, she’s looking forward to a fresh start--a new school, and new classmates who will not know her deepest, darkest secret, the one she’s tried to hide all her life: strange, foreboding visions of the future.

But Winterhaven has secrets of its own, secrets that run far deeper than Violet’s. Everyone there--every student, every teacher--has psychic abilities, 'gifts and talents,' they like to call them. Once the initial shock of discovery wears off, Violet realizes that the school is a safe haven for people like her. Soon, Violet has a new circle of friends, a new life, and maybe even a boyfriend--Aidan Gray, perhaps the smartest, hottest guy at Winterhaven.

Only there’s more to Aidan than meets the eye--much, much more. And once she learns the horrible truth, there’s no turning back from her destiny. Their destiny. Together, Violet and Aidan must face a common enemy--if only they can do so without destroying each other first.

-Summary from Goodreads

Haven is a book about psychics, a topic I haven't touched on in a long time. This book was fun, and took a very interesting twist on vampires (I know my reviews are supposed to be spoiler free, but this isn't that spoilery--it's pretty obvious since the beginning).

     I enjoyed this book. It is lighthearted, even though there are undesirable destinies that threaten to tear the characters apart. Aidan is definitely swoon-worthy, and Violet is a likable character as well. Despite the great aspects of the book, I did have a few problems.

1) The realism. Sure, this book is about people with special abilities. I get that, I really do. However, even considering that these are "special" people, the characters weren't very realistic. I couldn't relate with them, and they were often doing things out of character. Also, their actions are confusing. One second the couple is all romantic, the next they're shouting at each other and furious. It's true that all relationships have their ups and downs, but this book just didn't depict it in a believable way for me.

2) The ending. There really wasn't a lot of action in this book until the end. And boy, the ending is the whole point of the book--their defiance of destiny, the single act that will make or break the main characters. You'd think there would be a lot of action, but no. The ending came and went like this: *snap*. It felt rushed, and come on. When a bunch of evil people are trying to kill you, do you really notice the daffodils swaying in the wind? 

3) The interpretation. My reviews are supposed to be spoiler-free, and this mostly is, so don't worry. Besides, this is too big a point to pass on. In this book, Cook takes on a scientific way of explaining vampirism. Actually, I didn't have a problem with that. It was refreshing and interesting to see a new take on vampires. I applaud Cook for taking this risk. However, others might have a problem with this. The whole paranormal genre is extremely popular right now, and I think we can agree that one of the biggest reasons is because we don't know the why. Being paranormal is something you can't really explain, and its the mystery and curiosity that intrigues us. Now this could go both ways--the new take is also enticing. Still, I believe this would be a controversial issue for the book.

Despite the few problems, I really did enjoy this book. It's a refreshing read and often humorous. Heck, I'm interested enough to read the sequel. So give it a try!

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