"A satisfying supernatural YA tale that effectively mixes high school, magic and mystery." --Kirkus Reviews
Book one of the Ash Grove Chronicles. In the breathtaking Blue Ridge Mountains, Ash Grove High School for the Performing Arts draws the brightest and most talented teens. But beneath the peaceful surface, supernatural forces are at work...
When ordinary high-school junior Joy Sumner visits a graveyard at midnight on a dare, she doesn't expect to end up sharing a kiss with brooding teen model Tanner Lindsey. And she definitely doesn't expect to make an enemy of Tanner's seductive, sinister mentor, the ageless supermodel Melisande--who may not be entirely human--or to find that her sleepy little corner of North Carolina is buzzing with supernatural energy.
But most unexpected of all is when Joy finds out that she's pregnant. And when Tanner's love for her puts his life in danger, will she be able to rescue him--and save their future together?
Age level: 15 and up
A word from the author: As both a writer and a reader, I've always been drawn to stories in which the heroine rescues the hero, instead of the other way around. In The Shadow and the Rose, the main character, Joy, thinks of herself as ordinary and certainly not a heroine. But when she falls in love with teen model Tanner Lindsey, she finds that she has reserves of strength she never suspected. A loner from a toxic home, Tanner has never been loved before--not even by the beautiful (and much older) woman he's entangled with now--so he doesn't believe he's worth fighting for. But we and Joy know otherwise.
My inspiration for The Shadow and the Rose was a centuries-old Scottish ballad called "Tam Lin," about a handsome knight who is kidnapped by the queen of the fae and rescued by a brave mortal girl who has fallen in love with him. To me, the Tam Lin story is about having faith in the person you love even when they show you unattractive, even scary sides of themselves... and even when your rival is a supernatural temptress!
Interesting modern twist on an old tale
I got to read an ARC from the author last week. I'm stuck at 3.5 stars, though part of that is probably because I'm not a fan of ebooks; I find I have a hard time getting into that format. Definitely going to buy a paperback when it comes out to read it again. This is an excellent addition to the genre, in the style of Twilight (Stephenie Meyer), Wings (Aprilynne Pike), and Tithe (Holly Black).
The main character, Joy, was a pleasure. She's sweet, innocent (but not naive), clever, loyal (and average, human-sized, which I appreciated, especially when she's surrounded by so many beautiful people), but with some distinct flaws that kept her from being annoying. Another great, strong heroine all around. If Ms. Dewees keeps coming up with women like this, I'll definitely keep reading. The supporting cast was no less enjoyable a group of real characters--the hodgepodge, artsy bunch that still didn't manage to fall into cliche. I especially loved Joy's roommate, Maddie, who is just the type of friend every girl should have. She was probably my favorite character.
Tanner, our hero, I had a bit of difficulty liking. He didn't really seem to have many strengths beyond his unnatural beauty and his mad brooding skillz. He's a great guy, but the cloud of depression can really put a damper on other worthy qualities. Other than the sheer pleasure of looking at him (which, admittedly, can do a lot for a relationship, for a while), I had a hard time understanding what would appeal to Joy so much that she would fight so hard for him. Given that this is our author's second hero to suffer so greatly, I wonder a bit if we're going to have a theme in Ms. DeWees's works. I could think of other themes I'd prefer.
Tam Lin is not a story I know well, so I was definitely surprised by many of the plot twists. (I looked up one of the ballads after I finished and was really amused to see some of the things the author incorporated from the original story.) She tied up this story very neatly in then end, so that I'm not really sure what she plans to do in the next book; since I thought this tale was going to be spread over three books, there were a couple of relationship elements that--while a significant part of the Tam Lin story--I thought came in a little early. But I thought the final battle with Melisande was pretty thrilling. And I loved that Joy was an active heroine, that it was Tanner playing the damsel in distress this time.
Definitely looking forward to the next installment. Just tell me, is it going to follow Joy and Tanner in more adventures, or will we be introduced to some new main characters? I'm very curious to see what comes next in the trilogy. Is it too much to hope that we'll resolve William and Maddie's love troubles?
Interesting story but had an F word towards the end
Finished it really quick it had me turning pages.😊👍 I loved it!!!