So I've been away for a while, but the time I spent holed up in my office was well-spent - I read Spellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz (who by the way is an adorable and wonderful person), and I absolutely loved it.
Followers of the blog have probably picked up that I don't really read young adult fiction even though I'm a young adult author - the Need2Reads I post are always either mystery or adult lit. I'm kind of strange that way. But because I share a book birthday with Cara, I of course had to dive in to her story. And I'm so very happy I did!
The moment I knew Spellbound had me hooked was when the main character, Emma, compared the smell of a perfume to "a unicorn fart". Later on, the same perfume was described as "munchkin sweat". These are clear indications of brilliance.
(FYI - THERE WILL BE MILD SPOILERS AHEAD.)
First let's talk about Emma. What I loved about her was that she's been through a hell of a lot, but she's not your typical world-weary protagonist. She definitely wants a better life, she wants a chance to start over. She hasn't given up. I adored her defensive cynicism, because it fit perfectly with what she's lived through. I loved that she would go to school without doing her hair and makeup (that's what I always did because nobody can look good that early in the morning anyway), and I loved that her habits on that front didn't really change after she got involved with Brendan. Emma has a "this is what I am, this is as good as it's gonna get" approach to her appearance, which is refreshing.
Brendan is a delicious bad boy with uber respect for women. I'm not going to talk too much about him because you guys should get to discover him on your own as you read. But I heart him (and so does my friend who started reading the book before I'd even finished it).
The ending of Spellbound was riveting. (This is where things get a bit spoilery.) As a young woman, I found Anthony to be a terrifying character. The way that Emma refers to him as "the monster" is so accurate in terms of how many women are forced to look at the world. If I see a group of guys on the sidewalk, I cross the street so I don't have to risk passing by them. I don't walk to my car by myself. I don't go to public bathrooms by myself because public bathrooms are a high risk place for women to be assaulted. And Anthony embodies every little thought and experience that urges me to make those decisions regarding my safety. I would venture to say that Spellbound is a good read for young women, but especially for young men - it's so important for guys to understand the ways in which women are forced to view the world differently from them. And Spellbound illustrates this perfectly.
All in all, this is a great read. Either for tanning by the pool or for intellectual discussion. There are layers to it and it can be enjoyed on myriad levels.
Buy this one, ladies and gents!
Til next time,