Synopsis: Grace Divine, daughter of the local pastor, always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared--the night she found her brother Jude collapsed on the porch, covered in blood--but she has no idea what a truly monstrous secret that night held.Werewolves+Minnesota=Automatically Awesome. But even beyond my very simple formula, I am in love with this book. I've read a lot of reviews asserting that the story wasn't original, and I suppose it can be seen that way. First, wolves in Minnesota...Linger...the bad boy who's actually really vulnerable? seen it (a lot)...a family that has lots of secrets and doesn't want to talk about their problems, okay. But then there's the fact that Grace is a pastor's daughter and not in the repressed, need to rebel kind of way. She's a genuinely faithful and good person. There are little things that are different than the cookie cutter werewolf romance story. Not to mention that while I was actually reading the story, I was so wrapped up in it that I wasn't concerned with the criticisms I'd read.
The memories her family has tried to bury resurface when Daniel returns, three years later, and enrolls in Grace and Jude's high school. Despite promising Jude she'll stay away, Grace cannot deny her attraction to Daniel's shocking artistic abilities, his way of getting her to look at the world from new angles, and the strange, hungry, glint in his eyes.
The closer Grace gets to Daniel, the more she jeopardizes her life, as her actions stir resentment in Jude and drive him to embrace the ancient evil Daniel unleashed that horrific night. Grace must discover the truth behind the boys' dark secret...and the cure that can save the ones she loves. But she may have to lay down the ultimate sacrifice to do it--her soul.
Three things that I loved about this book that you don't often find happening in novels like this:
1 - When Grace realizes just how dangerous Daniel is she actually stays away. She makes a conscious effort to stop seeing him and to move on with her life. Even if she's slightly misguided in this action, she is right to make such a move. She felt threatened and didn't file that feeling under the - that makes you dangerously sexy column. She filed that under the - boyfriends that could be bad for my heath column. Yay. This gives her so much power, because she wasn't seeing him because he decided to stay away, but she made the decision.
2 - Grace has parents. Ones that actually monitor her, make sure she's home on time, and, well, actually act like parents. I understand the tactic of creating absent parents so that the characters have more freedom to have adventure, to explore the boundaries of their own worlds, and to become their own independent being. But this is something that gets old. Even though Grace's family isn't perfect, they genuinely care about one another and they hold Grace accountable for her actions.
3 - Religion is actually acknowledged in the paranormal world. I love it. I love the melding of a very real, contemporary, religious institution and the paranormal. Why can't the co-exist? To me, this is a new lens to see into the world of werewolves and I absolutely love that.
So yeah, some parts of this book can be compared to others, but there are some parts that make it new. In any case I loved it. Freaking loved it. Exclaiming out loud and mumbling under my breath to freak my roommate out loved it.
The second book in the series, The Lost Saint, comes out in paperback in November, and the third book, The Savage Grace, will be out March 13, 2012. Can't freaking wait.