Published by Egmont USA
Published on July 13, 2010
Review based on ARC (Received from YA Addict Book Tours)
Rating: 4 Bookcases
Summary from Goodreads:
His love captivated her... his secrets might kill her.
Since her sister’s mysterious death, Persephone “Phe” Archer has been plagued by a series of disturbing dreams. Determined to find out what happened to her sister, Phe enrolls at Devenish Prep in Shadow Hills, Massachusetts—the subject of her sister’s final diary entry.
After stepping on campus, Phe immediately realizes that there’s something different about this place—an unexplained epidemic that decimated the town in the 1700s, an ancient and creepy cemetery, and gorgeous boy Zach—and somehow she’s connected to it all.
But the more questions she asks and the deeper she digs, the more entangled Phe becomes in the haunting past of Shadow Hills. Finding what links her to this town…might cost her her life.
Shadow Hills has a great mix of different genres - mystery, romance, school story; it was hard to fit it into one category. Ever since the death of her sister, Persephone “Phe” Archer has been having odd dreams. She thinks that by enrolling in Devenish Prep, a boarding school in Shadow Hills, MA across the country from her home in Los Angeles, she can learn what really happened to her sister. Once Phe gets to Devenish, her dreams become more vivid and she finds herself in the middle of a mystery that links her to the town’s past.
I like that Shadow Hills starts with Phe’s first day at Devenish; this allows the reader to learn about the school and town along with Phe. This is really important in a book where the main character is trying to solve a mystery or learn important information. Phe is a fun character to read, even though sometimes I found myself shouting out loud in reaction to some of her decisions. I get that she is set on finding out about her connection to Shadow Hills and that sometimes it causes her to make choices that aren’t always in her best interest, but it made me wish that I could sit down and have a heart to heart with her.
In addition to Phe, Shadow Hills has a wonderful cast of characters. Each character, no matter how much page time they have, feels very rounded, like they have a complete backstory. Phe’s “inner circle” of friends, Graham, Adriana, and Toy each interacts with Phe is a different way and speaks to a different part of her personality. Even Phe’s adversaries, Corinne and Trent were wonderfully written; they are the characters you love to hate. And of course you can’t forget about the love interest, in this case the tall, handsome, smart Zach Redford. He is Phe’s equal in a lot of ways and is hiding a massive secret that Phe partially figures out as part of her investigation into the town’s past.
I found Shadow Hills to be a surprising read. Every time, I thought I had figured out what was going to happen, Ms. Hocus would throw something new into the mix. One element, I was not expecting was that Greek mythology plays a big part in Phe’s story, although I probably should have had some idea since the main character is named Persephone and her sister was named Athena! In addition to the Greek mythology, Phe has several visions that take her to the early days of the town of Shadow Hills. This interplay of past and present gives Shadow Hills a unique feel, which sets it apart from other YA books.
Overall, Shadow Hills was a fun, engaging read. It had a little bit of everything: some action, some romance, a mystery that needed solving, fun characters and fast paced action. I would not hesitate to recommend Shadow Hills.