(cover photo from goodreads.com)
I am about 100 pages into this nearly 600 page book, and I’ve had enough. To be sure, I’ve read plenty of books that started slow and got better. I am not usually a book quitter. But the problem with Beautiful Creatures is not that is started slow. It’s that is started predictable. The story (at least the first part) is told from the point of view of Ethan Carter Wate, a teenage boy from a small town in South Carolina who is tired and bored with all his shallow friends, superficial teachers, and the town’s busybody citizens (which is all of them). Poor Ethan’s only solace is in reading (of course) Vonegut and Salinger. Fortunately, for Ethan life begins to gets considerably more interesting when a dark and mysterious new girl, Lena, moves to town to live with her reclusive uncle (the town crazy). Of course all the other kids hate her instantly because people from small, southern towns can’t possibly tolerate anyone different. Only cool, Kurt Vonegut-reading types could ever do that. Ethan on the other hand, is drawn to her not just because he is a secret intellectual, free-thinker, but because Lena has been haunting his dreams for months. And if I’m right Ethan and Lena will fall madly into forbidden love and have to fight against both human and supernatural forces to be together.
Maybe if there weren’t a zillion other paranormal teen romances on the market, I might have found Beautiful Creatures more intriguing. Maybe. And maybe if I weren’t from a small southern town, I wouldn’t be so tired of the stereotype. Maybe. But aside from all that, I frankly did not care for the supernatural elements. For example Ethan’s beloved housekeeper is practiced in spells and potions and, I suspect, other dark arts. I can handle a few do-gooding vampires and werewolves. And I like my fair share of witches and wizards stories – but only when there is a clear distinction between good and evil. When that line becomes too blurred, you can count me out. It is up to every parent to decided where that line is and how blurry is too blurry but when it comes to what my teen and tween read, I think we will pass on steamy teen romance laced with black magic and sorcery.
If you would like to read a review from someone who has actually read the whole novel here is a link to GoodReads. Be sure to scroll down to get reader reviews.
I’m also including the movie review from Catholic New Services. I like their reviews because they usually take into account, not only parental concerns, but artistic merit as well.