Friday, July 15, 2011

Haven by Kristi Cook

Haven by Kristi Cook
Release Date: February 22, 2011
Publisher: SimonPulse

One month into her junior year, sixteen-year-old Violet McKenna transfers to the Winterhaven School in New York’s Hudson Valley, inexplicably drawn to the boarding school with high hopes. Leaving Atlanta behind, she’s looking forward to a fresh start--a new school, and new classmates who will not know her deepest, darkest secret, the one she’s tried to hide all her life: strange, foreboding visions of the future.  But Winterhaven has secrets of its own, secrets that run far deeper than Violet’s. Everyone there--every student, every teacher--has psychic abilities, 'gifts and talents,' they like to call them. Once the initial shock of discovery wears off, Violet realizes that the school is a safe haven for people like her. Soon, Violet has a new circle of friends, a new life, and maybe even a boyfriend--Aidan Gray, perhaps the smartest, hottest guy at Winterhaven. Only there’s more to Aidan than meets the eye--much, much more. And once she learns the horrible truth, there’s no turning back from her destiny. Their destiny. Together, Violet and Aidan must face a common enemy--if only they can do so without destroying each other first.

What a unique twist this book had some of the other "boarding school" "school for magic" or "school for mythical creatures" type story. When I first started reading this, I have to admit I thought, "oh okay, another one of those." I was pleasantly surprised.

I'm afraid to give away the secret because I think it's important for you to read it yourself to get the full enjoyment of the book. If I gave it away now, it would take away some of what made this book unique. So discover it on your own. I will just say, loved the secret, loved the friends, loved Violet and Looooooovvvvvvveeeeeeedddddd Aiden.

Violet and Aiden had such awesome chemistry. Their scenes together were amazing. At first, I had a little bit of trouble understanding why Aiden was so drawn to her in the first place... not that she's not pretty or worthy of attention. But he kind of latched on to her almost at first sight, and I found that kind of strange. However, it's all explained and makes perfect sense.

One of my favorite elements in the book was the friend dynamic.  Rather than the obligatory one or two friends that every teenage girl seems to have in YA books, Violet had something like five friends, and the author did a really good job juggling all of those friends, making all of them interesting, and keeping them all involved in discussions and in the action.  No one was ignored, but seemed to have equal "screen time" so to speak. 

The relationship between Violet and Aiden... like I said, great chemistry.  Great tension between these two.  I have to admit a slight... teensy tiny little bit of disappointment when we discovered Aiden's secret, and only because that particular element has been done quite a bit in the last couple of years.  BUT, that said, Kristi Cook did a great job bringing something brand new to it that I have NOT seen.  So this made it fresh for me and very enjoyable.

Great debut book by Kristi Cook.  Obviously a great new talent in YA.  I look forward to seeing more of her books in future!

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