Publisher: Egmont USA
Source of my copy: I bought it
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
His love captivated her... his secrets might kill her.
Since her sister’s mysterious death, Persephone “Phe” Archer has been plagued by a series of disturbing dreams. Determined to find out what happened to her sister, Phe enrolls at Devenish Prep in Shadow Hills, Massachusetts—the subject of her sister’s final diary entry.
After stepping on campus, Phe immediately realizes that there’s something different about this place—an unexplained epidemic that decimated the town in the 1700s, an ancient and creepy cemetery, and gorgeous boy Zach—and somehow she’s connected to it all.
But the more questions she asks and the deeper she digs, the more entangled Phe becomes in the haunting past of Shadow Hills. Finding what links her to this town…might cost her her life.
Shadow Hills wasn't what I expected. Seeing as the blurb emphasized Phe's sister's diary I thought there will be passages from the diary peppered throughout the book and Phe will be following clues from her sister to solve her mysterious death. I was wrong about the diary passages (there was none) but there was a strong mystery/whodunit aspect to this book that I really liked.
As for Phe, I liked her. She was not your usual weak young adult heroine in that she can give it right back when verbally attacked by the mean girl. Phe doesn't stand behind Zach (the love interest) waiting to be saved, she fights beside Zach. When things start to go weird, she had a good head on her shoulders and doesn't pull any "too stupid to live" moves and deliberately puts herself in danger (**ahem** I'm looking at you Nora from Hush, Hush). As for Zach, he was certainly crush-worthy but I thought he was a bit too perfect for my taste. The secondary characters were interesting and they each have their own personality.
When I was reading the book, the movie The Covenant came to mind more than once--a prep school in Massachusetts, townies having superhuman powers, a new girl coming in and unearthing the town's well-kept secrets all the while falling in love with one said townie. But while the movie was all about witches, magic and casting spells, Shadow Hills had a nice, surprising blend of the science, ancient Greek myths and magic which made it all the more interesting. However, I didn't appreciate the numerous indie band references (none of which I am familiar with) throughout the book as they didn't really add anything to the story. There were also a couple of scenes of alcohol and drug use that I thought were unnecessary as well.
Overall, Shadow Hills was a good read. It kept my interest and I am eager to read the sequel. I was glad that it didn't end in one of those huge cliffhanger endings but I'm still curious because there were many unanswered questions. If you are looking for a paranormal young adult read with magic and mystery, Shadow Hills is worth checking out. 3.75 out 5 stars