My tween daughter and I were browsing in the YA section while waiting to have our toenails painted (not in the bookstore). I was noticing how most of the YA covers are black and the themes tend to be vampires, zombies, werewolves and other fantastical situations. I picked up Beautiful Creatures and in a few minutes I was hooked. I generally don’t buy books anymore. I check them out of the library, but I was afraid I might not be able to get this book right away. I really enjoyed the book and I also think I could recommend it to my daughter. Sex is limited to kissing and handholding. There is some violence but no more intense than Harry Potter.
The hero and narrator is a boy which is a little unusual these days. He lives in a small southern town where everyone knows each other’s business. Civil War reenactments and the DAR are big. Cheerleaders with fake tans are at the top of the food chain. One day a new girl shows up and she is the niece of the guy who lives in the creepy plantation house and never seems to come out. She is sort of goth, smart, has lived a bunch of places, and most of the local kids dislike her on the spot. The narrator becomes her friend. She is a witch who will have to choose between becoming Good or Evil on her 16th birthday.
The book is fast paced, well written, and will probably be made into a movie before too long. There is a cool librarian named Marian who maintains the normal library, but when the library is shut on holidays, she maintains the literally underground library for the witches. This is a good summer read — fantasy, magic, love, quirky relatives, and the eternal battle between good and evil.
The book has now been made into a movie. I think I still enjoyed the book more, but young teens will probably enjoy the movie. Less violence than the Twilight series. The movie focuses quite a bit on how people who seem different are ostracized, teased, and bullied.
Garcia, K. & Stohl, M. (2009). Beautiful creatures. New York: Little, Brown and Company. 563 pages plus a chapter from their next book. $9.99. ISBN978-0-316-07703-3.