Monday, August 30, 2010

Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin

Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books (September 14, 2010)

Book synopsis: The only thing Avery Hood can remember about the night her parents died is that she saw silver—deadly silver, moving inhumanly fast. As much as she wants to remember who killed them, she can't, and there's nothing left to do but try to piece her life back together. Then Avery meets the new boy in school—Ben, mysterious and beautiful, with whom she feels a connection like nothing she's ever experienced. When Ben reveals he's a werewolf, Avery still trusts him—at first. Then she sees that sometimes his eyes flash inhuman silver. And she learns that she's not the only one who can't remember the night her parents died.

My review: In Low Red Moon, Avery, 17, has just lost her parents. They were brutally murdered and she was found beside their bodies, except she can't remember the details of that traumatic night. Her grandmother Renee takes her in and Avery tries to continue living her ordinary life. Except Avery isn't ordinary. Raised in the woods, kept away from the townspeople and home schooled until she was 16, she has led a secluded life. After the murders she keeps seeing images of blood. When Ben, the hot 'new guy' at her school, seems to have his eyes set on her. Is it safe to fall for him when there's a murderer in her town?

I really wanted to like this book more than I did. I liked the premise and having the mystery aspect take center stage was refreshing. The writing itself was lovely in parts and I enjoyed the setting Devlin created, especially the colors and sounds of the forest. There were parts where I wanted more depth. Avery's strange connection to the woods was too elusive (unless there is a second book which would explain the lack of info in this one); Ben's immediate attraction to Avery wasn't convincing (formulaic and too Edward Cullen-like, in fact I felt there were quite a lot of Twilight-like comparisons in this novel); if we're going to have a shape shifting/werewolve male hero, show us, don't just allude to it by telling us he had silver eyes, he shimmered, or he wore moccasins; and the ending fell flat for me (the scene in the house with the antagonist happened too soon, I also felt the set up of Renee and Avery going on their trip should have actually happened, providing the climax more tension and time to build up).

There is an abundance of YA paranormal stories. If an author is going to compete they have to truly make their characters and stories unique so they have a chance of standing out in this market. At only 196 pages, Low Red Moon could have easily been a lengthier work. As a paranormal-lite title it was okay and I believe tweens and younger teens would enjoy this story, but experienced paranormal fans may regard this as more of an appetizer.

Rating: +++

Favorite scene: (From page 81, ARC)
     "Even away from him, even across the room, I could still feel his thoughts because they were so strong. So full of want.
     I could feel my face turning red and I stared at the forever dying apples we were still drawing.
     It was the longest class of my life, and when the bell finally rang, I ran out of the room as fast as i could. I didn't stop, even though people were looking at me.
     I ran because if I had hesitated for even a second when class ended, I would have gone to Ben.  In spite of waht I knew, in spite of what little memory I had of that night--silver--it was all nothing compared to how he made me feel.
     My heart said Ben was ben in spite of everything I'd learned today, but then my heart had also believed my parents would be around forever."

Book source: Around the World tours

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