A fluffy derivative fantasy tries to stuff 20 pounds of plot into a five-pound story sack.
Eloise Hart is a normal high-school girl, hanging out with her best friends Jo and Devin in a small town sweltering through an endless dry summer. That is, until a strange boy salutes her in the ice cream parlor, the birds start behaving oddly and Eloise discovers that she has become a pawn in the struggle between a villainous Fae king and his estranged queen, with potentially deadly consequences. Told in alternating chapters by the bullied-but-quietly-strong Eloise and the quirky madcap Jo, the story serves up two stereotypical teen heroines for the price of one, although they (and their sadly underdeveloped geeky friend Devin) share the same indistinguishable snark-riddled voice. There's also a double helping of Mysterious Hot Guys, in the Gallant Protector and Brooding Bad Boy flavors, both of whom fall madly in reciprocated love with the narrators before they've had a chance to exchange more than a few sentences or even names. The plot clips along briskly, rapidly tossing in assorted tidbits of fairy lore from shapeshifters to kelpies to Victorian pixies, mixing an admirable depiction of friendship and some arresting imagery with too many clunky metaphors and painfully cheesy dialogue. If it's all very shallow and predictable, it's also breezy and entertaining, with a diverting blend of chills, humor and spunk.
Like fairy gold: shiny but ephemeral. (Urban fantasy. 12-17)