May 19, 2012

Review: Sweet Evil

By: Wendy Higgins
Published: May 2012 by HarperTeen
Format: Paperback and ARC, 447 pages
First Reviewed: November 2011
Buy: Barnes & Noble//Books-A-Million//Amazon//Book Depository
Add it on Goodreads

What if there were teens whose lives literally depended on being bad influences?

Anna, a tender-hearted southern girl, was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She’s aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but it isn’t until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage, and her will-power is put to the test. He’s the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna.

A cross-country trip forces Anna and Kai to face the reality that hope and love are not options for their kind. When it's time for Anna to confront her demons, will she choose to embrace her halo or her horns?

Rating: 5/5

Wendy...can I have permission to shake my bum in everyone's faces? Please! Please! I am anyway! *shakes bum in everyone's faces* Muahaha! Okay, so yes, Wendy's one of my best friends, and yes, I got to Beta read this awesome book, but no, I will not lie in my reviews. So when I say it's awesome, I mean it!

I'm going to be blunt when I say most commercial paranormal I read now-a-days has lackluster writing or writing that's just...too immature for my taste. Thankfully Wendy's style is far from that.

Save for all the adverbs and "looks"--what was the other one? "Turn"? I think so...No! It was "Smile! You're on candid camera!"--I made her ditch (muahaha, I said it, Wendy; you have my permission to hit me), the writing is fantastic. For me, it's one of the elements that makes Sweet Evil stand out from other commercial paranormal these days.

Wendy gives Anna such a great voice that fits extremely well with Anna's situation, her being torn between the halo and the horns and with her true self, if that makes sense. That's hard to do, if you ask me, and Wendy does it so well. And the realism in general, with both Anna's inner dialogue and everyone else's dialogue, is great. She had be laughing, getting angry, feeling sad, and everything in between. Also, the detail and description was perfect for me because it gave just enough to picture everything, but not so much that nothing was left up to my own imagination.

I could probably go on and on about how wonderful Wendy's writing is, but I must tell you about Kai...

Sigh. Kaidan. He's a leprechaun, you know. Oh wait...wrong book...(I had to do it, Wendy! Inside joke, you guys.) Anyway, Kaidan, the non-leprechaun Nephilim, who's also a non-cliche bad boy that I just loveee. Seriously, there aren't many guys in paranormal YA anymore that I fall in love with. All the guys in Vampire Academy are the only ones that I can think of at the moment. But now Kaidan can be added to that list. I don't want to spoil anything, so I'll just say that Kai is one you'll all fall in love with.

Now, lt's talk about Anna. Finally a MC that's not one-dimensional or a girl who thinks she's sweet, when really she's just annoying. Anna is naturally sweet, a realistic sweet, that I just loved. It made her family discovery and struggles with her pull toward being a bad influence so interesting and intriguing to read. I loved being in her head and seeing through her eyes, feeling so many different things. She was strong, solid lead for me.

As for the major-minor and minor characters, loved them all too. I really appreciated Wendy staying away from stereotypical characters. Anna's best friends are both likable and realistic without feeling like I'd read them before, which I loved. And one of my favorite characters is Anna's adoptive mother, Patti. I just loved her! One of those mothers you wish you had. I could go on and on with the characters too, but I know I'll end up spoiling things, so...

The plot is so exciting! There's so much that happens in this book that I felt exhausted after reading, in the best way. The kind of exhausted that made me realize how much I got into the story. Twists, excitement, fear, fun, mystery, everything.

Best part? It's unique! It's not easy to create an original commercial paranormal these days. A story where teens depend on being bad influences? I'd go into further detail, because some of Wendy's ideas are just epic, but I just don't want to spoil it. When I read it, I was like "Oh, snap! For real?!" That rarely happens now-a-days. Even now, just thinking about it makes me excited to read it all over again.

And of course I have to talk about the romance, because you know me and romance. It has to be realistic. Was it realistic? YES! FINALLY! A paranormal romance where the MC doesn't think about the "perfect guy" every second of every day. There's no instance romance. It's just fantastic. Such a breath of fresh air for YA paranormal romance.

Lastly, I'll just say the plot is one that will keep you intrigued and reading from start to finish. You won't want to put it down.

Other: Can I just mention how much I love the aura element? I'm kind of obsessed with auras and have had my aura picture taken a few times. My dad's aura has angel wings! Anyway, and I have to just say I loved the setting, too. The South? And a road trip, too? Oh yes. Fantastic.

Wendy combines so much of what readers love to read in YA with this book. She leaves out the problems that make people annoyed and replaces them with original ideas and realistic situations that made me forget I was reading a commercial paranormal romance. I fell in love with Kaidan, one of the few paranormal male leads that is realistic with all the qualities we girl readers love. Sweet Evil is just such a breath of fresh air, with great writing and exciting plot twists and discoveries. Loved every minute of it! Read it!

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