A treat from HarperCollins and my fourth book of Carl's RIP III Challenge, Evernight was a huge surprise. When I first heard of the book on various blogs I thought, "Oh, look, more vampire fiction. Helloooo Stephenie Meyer wannabes!" However, I'm woman enough to admit when I'm really REALLY wrong. I owe Claudia Gray an apology and I'll even throw in my first born if HarperCollins will send an ARC of the next book in the series, Stargazer.
Before I gush any more, here's a brief synopsis:
Bianca Olivier is uprooted and plunked down in the middle of an odd boarding school, Evernight, when her parents get jobs teaching there. They feel it is to Bianca's advantage to branch out, meet new people, and generally step outside of herself a bit. However, the students at Evernight are an otherworldly sort of beautiful, stuck up, and more than a little strange. Soon enough, Bianca begins to feel at home as she falls in love with the far more down to earth, but similarly enigmatic, Lucas Ross.
Admittedly, this review will be somewhat vague because there's a big twist about 150 pages in. I'm sure if you read other reviews they will certainly give it away, but this twist actually shocked me and left me with mouth all gapey. Maybe I'm off my game, or maybe I'm just slow, but I really didn't see it coming. What a wild ride!
I realize you're probably wondering what sets it apart from other vampire fiction--especially the most visible of them all, Stephenie Meyer's Twilight saga. I venture to say the writing is much better. I never cringed. Gray has a gift for using true-to-life teenage lingo in a way that doesn't make the reader's butt pucker (maybe that's just me). I felt that the teens were sincere without annoyance. What an idea! There's also far less angst in this book than the Twilight series. Well, I take that back, there must to be hormones and angst in some regard or there'd be a striking lack of conflict, but on the whole I felt like these characters possessed a far more pronounced ability to pick themselves up and just get on with it. Of course, the book is far shorter than any of the Twilight saga, so it was far tighter writing in general.
Bianca and Lucas were both very likeable and conflicted, and I just fell in love with both of them. You've heard me yammer on endlessly here about my favorite vampire series of all time: The Vampire Diaries, by L.J. Smith, and this series is certainly good enough to take up space on the "keeper" shelf right next to them. In fact, L.J. Smith provided a blurb for the back of the book!
If you don't have it in your hot little hands, this book is a great choice for the RIP III challenge, so hop to it!