Evernight by Claudia Gray
Author: Claudia Gray. Website, Twitter
Published: 1 April 2009
Buy: Amazon, Kindle, Waterstone's
Plot Summary: (from Goodreads)
She's been uprooted from her small hometown and enrolled at Evernight Academy, an eerie Gothic boarding school where the students are somehow too perfect: smart, sleek, and almost predatory. Bianca knows she doesn't fit in.
Then she meets Lucas. He's not the "Evernight type" either, and he likes it that way. Lucas ignores the rules, stands up to the snobs, and warns Bianca to be careful—even when it comes to caring about him.
"I couldn't stand it if they took it out on you," he tells Bianca, "and eventually they would."
But the connection between Bianca and Lucas can't be denied. Bianca will risk anything to be with Lucas, but dark secrets are fated to tear them apart . . . and to make Bianca question everything she's ever believed.
This book tells the story of Bianca, who is just about to start at Evernight Academy, a creepy Gothic boarding school in the middle of nowhere. I picked this book up at my local library, not having heard of it before. After looking it up on Goodreads (the fountain of all book knowledge!) I decided it looked worth a read.
My first reactions to this book were based on Bianca and how likable she is. She's shy and awkward after a life of being stifled by over-protective parents, and terrified about starting somewhere new with people she doesn't know where her parents are just about to start work as teachers. I think it's a situation that's very easy to sympathise with (even empathise with, for those of us who are still shy and awkward!) and so that got things off to a good start. I really liked the descriptions of the school, and the author references novels such as Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and Dracula which adds to the whole background of the story. The first half the book had me eager to know what would happen, as the tension was building and it was clear there'd be a big reveal.
Unfortunately, that's when things fell flat for me. About halfway through the book you get to the big dramatic moment and it was completely ruined because the reader had been misled, in my opinion. The book is written in the first person from Bianca's perspective, and to keep huge chunks of her life (that become important to the rest of the story from that point on) secret for the first half and then throw them in halfway through as a dramatic reveal felt really jarring. The second half of the book then seems to be narrated by a completely different character to the one I'd come to know in the first half. It wasn't the reveal I was expecting which I suppose says something, but it disappointing to feel mislead like that as a reader.
I can't totally write this book off though. I really liked the story (minus that reveal) and there were further twists in the tale that worked really well and I still want to read the next book in the series after finishing Evernight.
If you like teenage romance, high school drama and books about vampires then it's still worth a read.
What to read next: Stargazer by Claudia Gray, the second book in the Evernight series
Books like this: The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson