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Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia
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Beautiful Creatures

by Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Caster Chronicles (1)

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English (305)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (308)
Showing 1-5 of 305 (next | show all)
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  Stephanie_Keyes | Apr 3, 2014 |
There is something so satisfying about Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. It was the setting that sucked me in first. The fictional town of Gatlin, South Carolina reminded me of hot and soggy summers spent in the woods and creek behind my house in northern Georgia. I half expected kudzu to creep and crawl from the pages of my book. Had the transmission in my car not gone kaput a month prior, I may have jumped in to my dodgy Ford Taurus and drove south for the winter. Next, I was immediately preoccupied by the lives of the people in small-town Gatlin. I wanted to stand in line at the corner store sipping sweet tea while nonchalantly listening in to gossips air their neighbor’s dirty laundry.

The characterization in Beautiful Creatures was near perfect. They all came alive almost effortlessly. The southern belles and their jock counterparts were a cause of friction that was written well. The mean girls/jock conflict might be overdone, but Garcia and Stohl’s approach is surprisingly refreshing. Perhaps because it reads more like a small town versus an outsider threatening what is comfortable rather than the mean, preppy girls versus the goth. The Sisters, with their batty ways were hilarious! But Amma, with her crossword obsession and her voodoo superstitions stole the show for me.

If the characters and the setting don’t suck you in, perhaps the point of view will. What a surprise it was to discover that this paranormal romance was written almost entirely from a male’s point of view. When was the last time you read a book dealing with romantic elements from a guy’s perspective? It’s just not usually done, which makes this book even more outstanding. Ethan is more complicated than some high school horn dog. He struggles with parting himself from the small town mentality that his friends are trying to shove down his throat as he realizes he’s falling for mysterious and eccentric looking Lena. The romance that develops between the two is sweet and so reminiscent of what I remember of high school romances—holding hands and almost-kisses and wondering if you’ve really just fallen in…well, the “l-word”(because who knew saying “love” would be so anxiety inducing even though it’s kind of invigorating?). It’s such a nice break from overly dominant and manly teenage boys and submissive teenage girls.

The supernatural elements were a show-stopper as well. They were just plain, ol’ neat. I mean, we’re talking about controlling elements, shape shifting, seeing time, mind control, healing, and that’s only scratching the surface. But, that’s not all. There is also Amma who wards off bad spirits with voodoo charms and pleases dead ancestors with chicken and whiskey. There is a natural conflict that arises between the casters and Amma just as there is a conflict that arises between all of the mortals in Gatlin and the casters. It makes for some pretty suspenseful moments.

Beautiful Creatures would be perfect except for two issues that I had with the book. First, the book seemed long. I understand that it is long but so are Harry Potter books, and sometimes those don’t seem long enough! I don’t know if it was pacing or if certain events in the middle were dragged out a chapter too many or even if my anticipation for the events at the end made the book seem so long. Regardless, at some point, I lost my reading vigor because it seemed daunting. Now, on the flip side, it seemed like the ending was rushed. And it seemed like a few explanations were made up suddenly at the end to cover holes in logistics. Like, how is Ethan supposed to get from the Library back out the spooky mansion when they’re clear across town from each other? A perfectly rational supernatural explanation is offered even though no mention of such a thing was made when Ethan first visited the library. ( )
  books_n_tea | Apr 1, 2014 |
Different, I'll give it that. ( )
  LaurenKathryn | Mar 31, 2014 |
AUTHOR: Garcia, Kami & Stohl, Margaret
TITLE : Beautiful Creatures
Date Read: 03/26/14
RATING: 4.5/B+
GENRE/PUB DATE/PUBLISHER/# OF PGS: YA/2009/Little, Brown & Co./563 pgs
SERIES/STAND ALONE: #1 in Beautiful sereis
TIME/PLACE: Present/Gatlin, South Carolina
CHARACTERS: Lena Duchannes/ new girl in town; Ethan Wate/15-yr-old

FIRST LINES: There were only 2 kinds of people in our town. "The stupid and the stuck," my father had affectionately classified our nieghbors. "The ones who are bound to stay or too dumb to go. Everyone else finds a way out."

COMMENTS: How refreshing a YA book that is NOT dystopian. I really enjoyed this Southern Gothic story. The South Carolina setting offered a Southern charm and the characters were Southern, Secretive and Spooky making for a nice suspenseful mix. Ethan Wate is a 15 yr old waiting for the day when he can leave Gatlin. His mother was recently killed in an auto accident and his father has become very reclusive since her death. Their housekeeper, Amma, is into charms & spells but also the one to demand the discipline from Ethan while his father is secluded in his room. Lena Duchannes is the new girl in school and she is quite different … starting w/ where she lives. She lives on old estate, Ravenwood, way out in the swamp-like rural area of town w/ her uncle. This uncle is one most people have heard about but have never seen. Lena is a caster and on the verge of turning 16, at that time she must decide whether to join the light or dark faction of her family. Ethan & Lena form a friendship that may be destined for the short term since Lena is a caster and Ethan is not. However they do form a psychic bond where they are often privy to each other's thoughts and can communicate between themselves altho' Ethan has never had this connection w/ someone else. This had me hooked from the beginning & I am looking forward to reading the 2nd book. ( )
  pammykn | Mar 31, 2014 |
"Mortals I envy you. You think you can change things, Stop the universe. Undo what was done long before you came along. You are such beautiful creatures."

Now I'm a sucker for a good YA paranormal romance, though this was not my favorite series, it still leaves me itching for more.

Lena is a strange fifteen year old girl who is an outcast in her school probably because people are curious and a little scared of her.



Ethan is a jock for most part but drives to school with his friend Link that he has had since he was a kid. (Link kinda reminds me of Stiles from Teen Wolf).

"You can't jump off a cliff when you've already fallen off a bigger one."



He is drawn to Lena for reasons unknown as she is to him. This story has many twists and turns and the ending makes you wanting more but not that OMG HOLY CLIFHANGER feeling.

All and all I can't wait for the movie.....2 more days....and to start reading the next book. ( )
  amydnoland | Mar 31, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 305 (next | show all)
The intensity of Ethan and Lena's need to be together is palpable, the detailed descriptions create a vivid, authentic world, and the allure of this story is the power of love. The satisfying conclusion is sure to lead directly into a sequel. Give this to fans of Stephenie Meyer's "Twilight" (Little, Brown, 2005) or HBO's "True Blood" series and they will devour all 600-plus pages of this teen Gothic romance.
 
The 600-plus pages could have been cut to make a tighter, better story. Despite the bulk, there’s plenty teens will like: romance, magic, hauntings, and the promise of more to come.
added by khuggard | editBooklist, Ilene Cooper
 

» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kami Garciaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Stohl, Margaretmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Caplan, DavidDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Clark, RobertCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Collins, Kevin T.Narratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Darkness cannot drive out darkness;
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate;
only love can do that.


Martin Luther King Jr.
Dedication
For
Nick & Stella
Emma, May & Kate
and
all our casters & outcasters, everywhere.
There are more of us than you think.
First words
There were only two kinds of people in our town.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
This book is told in a boy, Ethan Wate's, POV. He lives in a town, Gatlin, where nothing happens and nobody is different.
Ethan has been having these dreams about losing a girl who he thinks he is falling in love with. Which is crazy because he only knows her through a dream and she is probably not even real. Then suddenly a girl who is the town shut-in's niece moves to Gatlin and dares to be different. Her and Ethan seem to have an odd connection. This book is amazing and filled with adventure, suspense, and romance. It also has a lot of references to the book To Kill a Mockingbird.  
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0316042676, Hardcover)

Ethan Wate is struggling to hide his apathy for his high school "in" crowd in small town Gatlin, South Carolina, until he meets the determinedly "out" Lena Duchannes, the girl of his dreams (literally--she has been in his nightmares for months). What follows is a smart, modern fantasy--a tale of star-crossed lovers and a dark, dangerous secret. Beautiful Creatures is a delicious southern Gothic that charms you from the first page, drawing you into a dark world of magic and mystery until you emerge gasping and blinking, wondering what happened to the last few hours (and how many more you're willing to give up). To tell too much of the plot would spoil the thrill of discovery, and believe me, you will want to uncover the secrets of this richly imagined dark fantasy on your own. --Daphne Durham

Amazon Exclusive Interview with Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, Authors of Beautiful Creatures

What does your writing process look like? Is it tough to write a book together? Did you ever have any knock-down drag-out fights over a plot point or character trait?

Margie: The best way to describe our writing process is like a running stitch. We don't write separate chapters, or characters. We pass the draft back and forth constantly, and we actually write over each other's work, until we get to the point where we truly don't know who has written what.

Kami: By the end of the book, we don't even know. The classic example is when I said, "Marg, I really hate that line. It has to go." And she said, "Cut it. You wrote it."

Margie: I think we were friends for so long before we were writing partners that there was an unusual amount of trust from the start.

Kami: It's about respect. And it helps that we can't remember when who wrote the bad line.

Margie: We save our big fights for the important things, like the lack of ice in my house or how cold our office is. And why none of my YouTube videos are as popular as the one of Kami's three-fingered typing…okay, that one is understandable, given the page count for "Beautiful Creatures."

Kami: What can I say? I was saving the other seven fingers for the sequel.

What kinds of books do you like to read?

Kami: I read almost exclusively Young Adult fiction, with some Middle Grade fiction thrown in for good measure. As a Reading Specialist, I work with children and teens in grades K-12, so basically I read what they read.

Margie: When I write it comes from the same place as when I read: wanting to hang out with fictional characters in fictional worlds. I identify more as a reader than a writer; I just have to write it first so I can read it.

What books/authors have inspired you?

Kami: "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee, "A Good Man is Hard to Find & Other Stories" by Flannery O'Connor, "Fahrenheit 451" by Ray Bradbury and "The Witching Hour" by Anne Rice. I also love Pablo Neruda.

Margie: I think Harper Lee is the greatest writer alive today. Eudora Welty is my other Southern writer kindred; I was obsessed with her in grad school. Susan Cooper and Diana Wynne Jones made me love fantasy, and my favorite poets are Emily Dickinson (at Amherst College, I even lived on her street) and Stevie Smith.

Did you set out to write fiction for young adults? Why?

Kami: We actually wrote "Beautiful Creatures" on a dare from some of the teen readers in our lives.

Margie: Not so much readers as bosses.

Kami: Looking back, we wrote it sort of like the serialized fiction of Charles Dickens, turning in pages to our teen readers every week.

Margie: And by week she means day.

Kami: When we were getting texts in the middle of the night from teens demanding more pages, we knew we had to finish.

Margie: As it says in our acknowledgements, their asking what happened next changed what happened next. Teens are so authentic. That's probably why we love YA. Even when it's fantasy, it's the emotional truth.

A lot of us voracious readers like to cast a book after reading it. Did you guys have a shared view of who your characters are? Did each of you take a different character to develop, or did you share every aspect?

Kami: We've never cast our characters, but we definitely know what they look like. Sometimes we see actors in magazines and say, "Lena just wore that!"

Margie: We create all our characters together, but after a point they became as real as any of the other people we know. We forget they're not.

Kami: I never thought of it like that. I guess we do spend all our time talking about imaginary people. Margie: So long as it's not to them…

Did you always plan to start the book with Ethan's story? Why?

Kami: We knew before we started that we wanted to write from a boy's point of view. Margie and I both have brothers—-six, between us-—so it wasn't a stretch. It's an interesting experience to fall in love with the guy telling the story rather than the guy the story is about.

Margie: We do kind of love Ethan, so we wanted there to be more to him than just the boy from boy meets girl.

Kami: He's the guy who stands by you at all costs and accepts you for who you are, even if you aren't quite sure who that is.

What is on your nightstand now?

Kami: I have a huge stack, but here are ones at the top: "Mama Dip's Kitchen," a cookbook by Mildred Council, "The Demon's Lexicon" by Sarah Rees Brennan, "Shadowed Summer" by Saundra Mitchell, "Rampant" by Diana Peterfreund, and an Advanced Reader Copy of "Sisters Red" by Jackson Pearce.

Margie: I have Robin McKinley's "Beauty," Maggie Stiefvater's "Ballad," Kristen Cashore's "Fire," Libba Bray's "Going Bovine," and "Everything Is Fine" by AnnDee Ellis. And now I'm mad because I know a) Kami stole my "Rampant" and b) didn't tell me she has "Sisters Red"!

What is your idea of comfort reading?

Kami: If given the choice, I'll always reach for a paranormal romance or an urban fantasy. I also re-read my favorite books over and over.

Margie: It's all comfort reading to me. I sleep with books in my bed. Like a dog, only without the shedding and the smelling.

Have you written the next book already? What's next for Lena and Ethan?

Margie: We are revising the next book now. I don't want to give too much away, but summer in Gatlin isn't always a vacation.

Kami: I would describe book two as intense and emotional. For Ethan and Lena, the stakes are even higher.

Margie: That's true. Book two involves true love, broken hearts, the Seventeenth Moon, and cream-of-grief casseroles…

Kami: Gatlin at it's finest!

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:47:00 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

In a small South Carolina town, where it seems little has changed since the Civil War, sixteen-year-old Ethan is powerfully drawn to Lena, a new classmate with whom he shares a psychic connection and whose family hides a dark secret that may be revealed on her sixteenth birthday.… (more)

» see all 6 descriptions

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Two editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141326085, 0141346140

 

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