When their money runs out, Violet White decides to rent out the guesthouse behind her family’s aging estate, but she is not prepared for the new tenant, who is either part god or all devil.
Seventeen-year-old Violet and her twin brother, Luke, have been raised by their bohemian artist parents and their grandmother, Freddie. However, when Freddie dies and their parents leave for Europe, the teens face a long, hot, boring summer all alone. Everything changes with the arrival of River West, a mysterious boy with dark hair, a suspicious past and a strange power that even he does not fully understand. River reveals himself as a liar, a supernatural vigilante and a great kisser. Unfortunately, by the time Violet realizes the danger, she is hopelessly in love. This first installment in a new series is a rich blend of gothic horror and modern romance, studded with nods toward literary, cinematic and musical classics. A lush setting and provocative characters elevate this debut above others in the supernatural-romance genre. However, readers willing to press through the meandering plot will still need to negotiate Violet’s moral ambiguity in the face of River’s evil actions.
A sumptuous, if soulless romance; here’s hoping for a little more heart in the sequel. (Paranormal romance. 14 & up)