Published by Harlequin Teen on June 28, 2011.
Spellbound follows Emma Connor, who was not cast an easy lot in life. First, her beloved twin brother dies in an accident, then not a year later her mother dies of cancer, leaving her with an abusive, drunk stepfather. When her stepfather almost kills her while driving drunk, her concerned aunt takes Emma out of New Jersey and brings her to New York, plunking her into one of the most prestigious high schools in the city. She hopes to just be invisible for her remaining couple of years there, but that becomes impossible when she's impossibly drawn to a handsome, aloof boy named Brendan. When strange things keep happening to her, she learns that her connection to Brendan is not all that it seems, and may very well cost her her life.
I did not expect to like this book as much as I did. I went into it thinking the concept sounded intriguing, but the synopsis didn't give a whole lot of details. Other people who had reviewed it seemed to have like it, so I gave it a whirl.
The beginning few chapters did not really impress me. It felt mundane, and nothing extraordinary happened. I kept reading because I liked Emma. She was a strong character who had gone through a lot of crap, but still held on. Once I got a bit into the book, it got better and better. The storyline picked up; I finally got what the conflict was going to be. Then we get Brendan, who's awesome.
Emma and Brendan's love at first sight works because there's a reason behind it. A supernatural reason, yes, but a very cool reason. I don't want to go too in depth because it ruins the slow unveiling that one gets while reading the book, just know it works. Once I understood what was going on, I was hooked to the core. Ms. Shultz's idea is a very, very, very good one.
I also liked that Emma and Brendan's relationship and love for one another really took the front seat, rather than the mystical bit of it all. Yes, the supernatural bit is what sets it all in motion, but it's not the why.
Spellbound is a very well-executed, timeless love story. It's predictable and formulaic at times, but those elements work in its favor. The light shower of magic that covers everything makes it a memorable book.
Risk a paper cut? Spellbound is definitely worth the small risk for just about anyone. It will leave you satisfied and happy. A perfect summer book.
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