Friday, March 18, 2011

Swoon by Nina Malkin

Genre: YA paranormal romance
Pages: 425 (paperback)
Published: 2009 by Simon Pulse
Recommended for: older teens and adults looking for a fun paranormal romance

Torn from her native New York City and dumped in the land of cookie-cutter preps, Candice is resigned to accept her posh, dull fate. Nothing ever happens in Swoon, Connecticut...until Dice's perfect, privileged cousin Penelope nearly dies in a fall from an old tree, and her spirit intertwines with that of a ghost. His name? Sinclair Youngblood Powers. His mission? Revenge. And while Pen is oblivious to the possession, Dice is all too aware of Sin. She's intensely drawn to him -- but not at all crazy about the havoc he's wreaking. Determined to exorcise the demon, Dice accidentally sets Sin loose, gives him flesh, makes him formidable. Now she must destroy an even more potent -- and irresistible -- adversary, before the whole town succumbs to Sin's will. Only trouble is, she's in love with him. What do you do when the boy of your dreams is too bad to be true?

My Take:

After the thought-provoking, dark read that was Wintergirls, I really needed a book like Swoon to remind me that one of my primary goals in reading is to have fun: to fall in love with the characters and laugh every few pages and, after trying to savor the last page, wish that I could magically skip forward in time to the release date of the sequel.  Swoon is a tremendously enjoyable book, perfect for summer reading (and it's really starting to feel like summer down here in the Carolinas!)

Our heroine Dice, a life-long New Yorker who's conservative only in terms of hiding her latent psychic powers, feels out-of-place spending her summer in the preppy Connecticut town of Swoon, where family secrets abound and appearances are everything to the local high school crowd.  When her cousin Pen becomes possessed by the spirit of a seductive and fun-loving young man who was wrongfully hanged in colonial times, Pen suddenly feels inspired to pursue (and thoroughly catch) her crush of a few years, along with a half dozen other guys.  Dice, alarmed by Pen's uncharacteristicly promiscuous behavior, attempts to exorcise the mysterious Sinclair Youngblood Powers from her cousin-- and ends up turning him into a real boy. (Kinda like Pinocchio.)  The town of Swoon falls in love with charismatic, sexy Sin, and Dice herself wonders whether she isn't falling in love with him, but Sin has revenge on the brain.  He crusades to make the town of Swoon open up to their true selves, to make them accept differences and their true, blunt feelings for each other the way their ancestors didn't accept him-- a mistrusted stranger in their mist lynched for a crime he never committed.  Chaos ensues, and while some of the Swanoa High students are happy with their new lifestyles and the unlikely pairings formed by Sin's influences, Sin still has one big fish to fry: the great-great grandson of the man who murdered Sin's first love hundreds of years ago and got him hung, a patriarch whose abuse of his modern-day family may just be stopped too late.

Dice's first-person voice is as funny and refreshingly sarcastic-- these kids actually act and talk like teenagers, unlike the kids in a lot of YA books-- as Sin is charming.  There are a few holes in the plot and a few unlikely events that initially made me relatively scornful (a dead guy possesses you because you fell out of the tree where he was hung, come on).  Also the fact that every one of Swoon's local teens had a one-syllable nickname (Dice, Pen, Sin, Con, Marsh, Duck, you get the gist of it) made all the different characters a bit confusing to follow at first.  But overall, I was able to overlook all the little details and moments like that for the sheer sake of enjoying the book.  This is such a fun, light read, and the 400 pages just fly by.  The writing and characters are completely unique even though the plot summary sounds like something must of us have heard before.  It's also incredibly addicting, like a combination of Gossip Girl and Kelly Armstrong's The Summoning series.  Scandal warning: sex plays a big part in this book, though it's nothing too explicit, just recommended for mature teens and adults who don't mind that stuff like I mentioned before.  This paranormal romance and all-around enjoyable book is definitely going on my recommendations page!

Cover: 5/5 
Premise: 3/5 
Characters: 5/5 
Plot: 4/5 
Overall: 4.5/5   
*Thanks so much to Jennifer at Extreme Book Reviews for this book!*


Anonymous said...

Great review! I can't wait to read this book.

ajmitchell said...

Thanks for the great review! I've got this novel in my tbr pile and can't wait to read it. I can totally understand the one syllable name thing being hard to follow.

Maria Behar said...

Hi, there, Kat! Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting!

This is a TERRIFIC review! I got a real feel for the book from what you wrote, which I really enjoyed reading.

I have to be honest and tell you that this novel doesn't sound like quite my cup of tea... Thanks to your review, I think I'll pass on it.

It's nice that you always mention the extent to which sex plays a part in the novels you review. Not that I'm a prude, but I've been gravitating more and more toward the YA genre because I don't like reading overly explicit sex scenes.

Keep up the good work!! : )

Kat said...

@ AJ-- It was hard to follow at first, but luckily I was able to get the hang of it by the middle of the book. Hope you enjoy Swoon! :)

@Maria-- I know what you mean! I'm far from a prude, myself, but I do always like to mention if there is considerable sex content, because most of my readers read mostly YA and that is one reason why YA has become so popular-- romance without erotica, I guess.

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