Review: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Why I chose this book:

I am one who hates watching the movie before I read the book. I had been hearing hype about this series even before the movie came out, but working in a high school at the time, all my kids begged me to read it. Like many times before, I was disappointed.

Publisher: Little, Brown and Co.
Publish Date: December 1, 2009
Format: Paperback 
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal 
Buy: B&N || Amazon || Indiebound

There were no surprises in Gatlin County. 
We were pretty much the epicenter of the middle of nowhere.
At least, that's what I thought.
Turns out, I couldn't have been more wrong.
There was a curse.
There was a girl.
And in the end, there was a grave.

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determ ained to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything

   To preface, I finished this book in a few weeks, but this was by no means my favorite book of the year. I was honestly looking forward to reading this book. So much hype was circling about this series, I just had to get my hands on a copy, but when I finally did, it was an utter disappointment.

The 3 things you need to know about this book:

   1. Fat shaming
   The authors/characters are very derogatory about people who are overweight. And it occurs in the very first chapter. They even forego giving the actual name of the person (in this case a truant officer), and bestow upon him the name “Fatty,” because he always ate sticky buns in the morning. The truant officer is the only one that is mentioned as overweight in this book, and not only that, he was labeled by his size in a very offensive manner. The rest of the characters are skinny, fit, well-built. There is no diversity (Garcia, Stohl 13-14).

   2. Small town politics
   This book touches on various thoughts, including: small towns and how they thrive on gossip, the differences between people in power and people who are labeled as shut-ins in a small community, and (my very favorite) the negative effects of living in the past while also being able to learn from them. This theme is constantly referred to through the women in the community associated with the DAR and the Gatlin Historical Society. These women represent the old way of living. None of them desire change, even Lena’s family doesn’t. It seems like that weight lies with Ethan and Lena alone.

   3. Grammar Nazi nightmare
   I also found that the grammar in this book was atrocious. Obviously these authors, nor their editor for that matter, knows what a conditional clause is. To add to that, there were a lack of commas I found disagreeable, along with poorly worded sentences. They decided to give up excellently phrased sentences in exchange for conveying the dialect (which I think they did poorly). 

   *I am from the southern small town too. I know how they work, and I have read many a book that conveys dialect and speech patterns. This one was just not done well at all.

   Final Note:
   Overall, I found this book dull. The characters were flat and uninteresting. They were generic high schoolers, and this was just a generic plot-based paranormal romance. The writing was atrocious. The feelings and emotions of the characters weren’t conveyed well. It was just overall, a poorly thought out and written novel. I can’t imagine the rest of the series is that entertaining, considering it took me three whole weeks to trudge through this mess of a book. 

I gave it 1 star on my Goodreads.

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