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Shadow Hills: 03/28/13

cover art

Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus is a YA paranormal mystery. Persephone "Phe" Archer leaves Los Angeles to enroll in an uptight Massachusetts boarding school. She goes, plagued by grief over the death of her sister, and haunted by dreams that might be clues to her sister's death.

Devinish Prep is situated in a rather secluded town (aren't they always?) with a checkered past. A plague of some sort killed off a large percentage of the population, leaving a small set of survivors who all have something in common. That event is continuing to effect events in both the town and the school.

Phe quickly makes friends — the wealthy, alcoholic, shopoholic and fashion obsessed Adriana Dolski and the mysterious, Marty-Stu named Zach. It was in the initial introductions of these characters that I lost interest in the book. Whilst there is a mysterious hidden library and a creepy old hospital on the hill, Phe instead drinks cocktails and goes on a shopping spree with her new buddies.

These scenes of Phe and her new friends highlight the weaknesses of Shadow Hill. The BIG events are lost in an endless stream of minutae — descriptions of Phe doing completely mundane things are given the same emphasis (and sometimes more!) than the key pieces of the book (like discovering the history of the town or investigating the hidden library).

Two stars

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