I just finished the first two books in the Caster Chronicles by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, Beautiful Creatures and Beautiful Darkness.
As a newcomer to the South, I'm ever on the lookout for Southern Gothic fiction and these YA books did not disappoint. The stories are told from the perspective of 16 year old Ethan Wate and he's the droll, sensitive kind of boy teen girls dream about and mothers hope their daughters date. But he's not without conflict, especially when a new girl comes to town, intersecting his dreams and life, one rainy night on Route 9.
I read both books back to back and enjoyed the brooding but genteel ambiance and the quirky yet dark characters who populate Gatlin, South Carolina.
Amidst the fanciful yet grim Caster world, there were a few Southern cliches that seemed more suited to the 1950s than modern day, but these books captured my imagination and led me on a whimsically poignant journey that I'm eager to continue.
The third book, Beautiful Chaos, will be released in October...a long time to wait, because when Ridley dumps Link, I'll be there.