Disqualified because word count over 100,000.
Date Submitted: June 15, 2021
The characterizations of Skye’s new friends–Thatcher, Rane, Alton, Wes and JennyBea–are delightful, bringing them to vivid life through her eyes, and the relationships among the students are rich, complex, and rendered with care. This paranormal young adult romance is rich with detail–at times, perhaps overwhelmingly so–yet often reminiscent of previous works in the genre, a choice that may divide readers. Its strengths lie in the particular care given to Skye’s voice and the story’s pacing. Hints of the larger mystery are teased out with care, deliberately leading readers along and stirring anticipation about what will come next, in this story and in future volumes.
Despite the story’s intricacy and length, readers may find themselves at times wishing for greater clarity about Skye’s background, the island itself, and some small world-building tidbits that would further enrich the story and more firmly situate the school within a persuasive reality. Although the novel’s impact could be intensified by tightening the abundance of detail in this story, overall it is a delightfully light read with a promising beginning to a new series.
Takeaway: This YA paranormal romance follows richly characterized students at an island magical magical academy.
Great for fans of: Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series, Stephanie Meyer.
Design and typography: A-
Marketing copy: A
I looked over some of the reviews before I read this book. Quite frankly, one of the reasons I WANTED to read it was because of the comparisons to Twilight. And, yes, the feel is there in Bellocaro but contrary to some of the reviews posted here, it isn't simply a Twilight knock-off. While you can tell some of the inspiration came from Meyer's brainchild, it is its own story with its own twists and is really, really good. BTW, this author isn't the only one who uses this formula. Practically 1 out of every 2 or 3 vampire novels written today (vampire romance novels especially) have a similar feel, and for a very good reason. It works. Readers of the genre enjoy it. I found it refreshing to read a book with such a formula that was this well written since so many aren't nearly of that caliber. The only slightly negative thing I have to say about it -- and granted it's unrealistically picky -- was what seemed like a bit of an overuse of the phrase "cut her eyes" or a close variation of that for looking or glancing over at someone. I'll admit, though, it might have jumped out at me more than it would someone else because it's not an expression common to my area. That tiny thing out of the way, I thoroughly enjoyed both the storyline and the writing style. I will definitely read it again and look forward to reading book 2! Kudos, Ms. Meraux for a job extremely well done. Try not to take the comparison criticisms to heart. My guess is that a number of the critics didn't read far enough to see it for what it is: an excellent, authentic creation influenced by an author you admire. And when it comes right down to it, aren't all authors influenced one way or another by other authors they admire? If they're being truthful, I think they would admit as much.
I loved everything about this story. I really missed the twilight series so much.. I was wishing that their would be more stories out there that are insanely different yet will satisfy my twilight cravings. This story delivered on every single level. I found myself in a rush to get off work everyday because I couldn't stop thinking about this book! I was reading deep late into the night which is rare for me. Haha I felt like a rebellious high schooler again, and my only vice was reading into the night. The ending blew my mind but I can't spoil it for you.