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Beautiful Creatures follows the arrival of Lena Duchannes in a small town where everyone knows everyone and nothing ever changes. This is the sort of deep south US town that does civil war reenactments and dresses their young ladies in Gone With the Wind style gowns for functions.
The fact that Lena is the new girl is enough to spark riotous excitement – but the news that she is the niece of the elusive Macon Ravenswood gets people even more curious – because Macon has not been seen out in town for years.
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Lena is used to being the outcast and is confused when one of the boys in her class takes a shine to her. Ethan is fascinated by Lena but soon discovers that there is far more to her than he could have imagined when he starts hearing her thoughts and realises they can communicate telepathically. Though she tries to keep him at a distance, this bond between the pair inevitably becomes stronger.
Both Lena and Ethan's families try all that they can to keep the pair apart – which of course only makes them want to stay together more, and to find out what it is the families are hiding from them. They begin to dig deeper and soon start to uncover a dark family secret that has linked their families for generations.
There is history and old magic interwoven into Lena and Ethan's relationship – and that of their respective families – which gives the story great depth and mystery. It is also evident that many truths are being kept hidden from the pair, making the story all the more compelling for the reader as you seek to discover the truth along with them.
Beautiful Creatures faded a little too far into the background when it came out, thanks no doubt to all the Twilight/Hunger Games excitement. Though it may not quite live up to the compelling action and drama of The Hunger Games or the all-consuming love of the Twilight series' Bella and Edward, Beautiful Creatures certainly deserves to be noticed for its magical and mythical twists and turns. Hopefully with the release next year of the book's film adaptation – which stars Jeremy Irons, Emmy Rossum, Emma Thompson and Viola Davis – it will!
A magical mix of all that is good about YA fiction, Beautiful Creatures is reminiscent of the likes of Carrie, Harry Potter and many more and, though comparisons will clearly be made to its more successful contemporaries, the book manages to be a compelling story all of its own.