Monday, June 13, 2011

Spellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz

 Life hasn’t been easy on sixteen-year-old Emma Conner, so a new start in New York may be just the change she needs. But the posh Upper East Side prep school she has to attend? Not so much. Friendly faces are few and far between, except for one that she’s irresistibly drawn to—Brendan Salinger, the guy with the rock-star good looks and the richest kid in school, who might just be her very own white knight.

But even when Brendan inexplicably turns cold, Emma can’t stop staring. Ever since she laid eyes on him, strange things have been happening. Streetlamps go out wherever she walks, and Emma’s been having the oddest dreams: visions of herself in past lives—visions that warn her to stay away from Brendan. Or else.

Spellbound has quite a few good traits. The protagonist is witty and lovable. There is no love triangle (whew!). The paranormal aspects are intriguing (strange dreams of past lives and supernatural warnings? Oh my!) but there was something distracting about the narration. 
There were times that I felt as though Emma was just giving me a list of the things she did and then what she did next. There were also times where she spun the tale so tightly that I couldn’t help but admire the characters on the pages as opposed to parsing through the words. 
The conflict of the story felt a little forced and I kept wondering, why they characters were acting the way they were. Perhaps it’s their life of privilege but there had to be some other reason for their behavior, however, I seemed to have missed that reason. 
There were times when I loved Brendan (the love interest) and times that he felt overbearing and to me. I understand that this might be due to the circumstances surrounding his relationship with Emma, but sometimes it felt stifling. There wasn’t subtly to the sweetness, but it was super sweet and this doesn’t work for my particular taste. 
The resolution left me feeling a little confused. Perhaps this will be taken up in another story, but it felt as though one of the antagonists disappeared in the end, lost in the narrative. However, I enjoyed the little extra from Angelique’s point of view and would be curious to see how Cara Lynn Shultz explores this character and that story.

[copy for review from netgalley]

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