Publication Date/Version: January 2010/Hardcover
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Age Group: Young Adult
Received From: Around The World Tours (Thanks!)
Love can be a dangerous thing....
Hanna simply wants to be loved. With a head plagued by hallucinations, a medicine cabinet full of pills, and a closet stuffed with frilly, violet dresses, Hanna's tired of being the outcast, the weird girl, the freak. So she runs away to Portero, Texas in search of a new home.
But Portero is a stranger town than Hanna expects. As she tries to make a place for herself, she discovers dark secrets that would terrify any normal soul. Good thing for Hanna, she's far from normal. As this crazy girl meets an even crazier town, only two things are certain: Anything can happen and no one is safe.
Hanna is what some people would call insane. After bashing her aunt on the head with a rolling pin, she runs away to Portero, hoping to find her mom. Once there, she quickly learns that dark things are everywhere. Mysterious events continually occur, with people vanishing and dying. Sometimes even more mysterious than the events are Portero's residents. Hanna must earn her place in this twisted town and prove her worthiness.
Dia Reeves has unabashedly created a world of complete insanity and oddness, sucking the reader in from the start. Her storytelling and characterization will hook readers and have them flipping pages. I devoured this 464 page story in a single day, unable to put it down.
Hanna is clinically crazy, but compared to the rest of Portero, she's fairly normal. When first introduced to the story, it may seem hard to grasp and confusing. That, however, was what drew me in. I was utterly confused as to what was going on, but I had to find out more. Hanna's insane antics added excitement to the plot and kept me guessing. I literally never knew what to expect. Living wooden swans, glass people, what next?! This book could have been terribly off in many ways, but because Ms. Reeves presented it in such a convincing, laid-back manner, the oddness became cool.
The characters in Hanna's life were each individual and had some of the best characterization I've seen yet. Her mother was harsh, depriving Hanna of a real relationship. Even so, Rosalee is a compelling character who has her motives for being cold. Wyatt, Hanna's love interest, was totally bad ass but not a bad boy. He had a sweet job of taking down the evil entities in Portero, but he still had a fun personality. Wyatt is definitely one of the most enjoyable love interests in Young Adult fiction these days.
I loved almost every aspect of this book. The oddities, the real characters, all of it was amazing. I was slightly turned off by the casual approach to sex, and nudity, however. For some characters, mainly Rosalee, this laid-back approach was almost a defensive mechanism. It added to her persona in some ways. With Hanna, though, I was irked about her casual manner. I really can't place why I felt differently towards her. It was just off. Sorry, but there's really no way to explain why I was bothered by it. For those who have read it, the lake scene with the nerdy boy? Birthday suits were not necessary in my humble opinion. Another part of this book was its gruesomeness. I've got a sturdy stomach and am never affected by books descriptions of blood and gore, but there was one particular scene that really got me. I actually got woozy and a little nauseous. I caution those with weak stomachs.
Overall: One of the best books of 2010. A must read. Insane, but enjoyably so. Enthralling and enticing.
My Advice: Go buy a copy! You won't regret it. I'm getting my own for sure.
Cover: Wonderful mix of purple and darkness, two key elements in the novel. Bravo to Simon Pulse for putting a person of color on their novel, someone who actually fits the character's description. *cough*Bloomsbury*cough*