In Horowitz’s debut YA fantasy novel, human and Fae worlds intersect when a grieving girl unwittingly sends out a beacon to a banished Fae boy.
In this first book of a planned trilogy, 15-year-old Noa Sullivan returns to Harlow Academy following the death of her 17-year-old sister, Isla. Her parents are still reeling, so Noa’s main source of comfort is her 3-year-old sister, Sasha, a “foundling-strange” girl whose hair is as dark as Noa’s is fair. Then Callum Forsythe, 18, arrives at Harlow, causing an “eerie prickle” to run down Noa’s spine. Romantic sparks ignite between them, but he pulls back from her. At Isla’s ghostly urging, Noa demands an explanation from him; he reveals that he’s Fae and banished to the mortal world. He says that his Fae light, or life force, can’t last long among humans unless he feeds on theirs. He’s drawn to Noa and her light, but fears draining her, as doing so would keep her from having future joy. Using the portal between the Fae and human worlds, Callum’s bad-boy younger brother, Judah, arrives to help—or so he says. Their power-hungry father, Darius, also sends a Fae hunter to retrieve a ring capable of generating Fae light in the mortal world, for which he has other plans. Noa, Callum, and Judah join together to save what’s most precious to all three, setting the stage for the next book. This installment employs extensive exposition to get across its mash-up of fantasy elements, which include a Fae civil war, changelings, and blood magic; Callum’s back story alone spans 22 pages. This is a minor problem, however, and it’s balanced by a fast-moving plot. The modern-day coastal California setting and hip, teenage human and Fae characters keep the story fresh. Anyone who’s ever fantasized about kissing a Fae will enjoy Noa and Callum’s first, sexy kiss: “His lips gave and shaped around her lips, but were also strong, guiding hers where to go.” The prose is often lyrically concise, as when Noa, a secret poet, describes her work as “living secrets shaped in ink.”
A fresh tale of human light and Fae desire, with a quick plot that counteracts its weighty back story.