Google+ Reading Teen: Review: Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus

Monday, September 27, 2010

Review: Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus

    Shadow Hills
  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: EgmontUSA (July 13, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1606840835
  • ISBN-13: 978-1606840832
  • Author's Website:

After her sister Athena's tragic death, it's obvious that grief-stricken Persephone "Phe" Archer no longer belongs in Los Angeles. Hoping to make sense of her sister's sudden demise and the cryptic dreams following it, Phe abandons her bubbly LA life to attend an uptight East Coast preparatory school in Shadow Hills, MA -- a school which her sister mysteriously mentioned in her last diary entry before she died.

Once there, Phe quickly realizes that something is deeply amiss in her new town. Not only does Shadow Hills' history boast an unexplained epidemic that decimated hundreds of its citizens in the 1700s, but its modern townies also seem eerily psychic, with the bizarre ability to bend metal. Even Zach -- the gorgeous stranger Phe meets and immediately begins to lust after -- seems as if he is hiding something serious. Phe is determined to get to the bottom of it. The longer she stays there, the more she suspects that her sister's untimely death and her own destiny are intricately linked to those who reside in Shadow Hills.

I've actually been sitting on this review for awhile.  I don't really know why I've had a hard time writing it.  I think it's because there wasn't anything that I really loved or hated about Shadow Hills.  It was a pretty good book.  I thought the storyline was interesting, especially since the "paranormal" powers were able to be explained scientifically.  It was definitely an original, and interesting take on the paranormal.  I wish the story had stuck to the scientific (gene mutation) theory, and not gone into the whole goddess aspect.  I think that just seemed forced and out of place.  I'm sure that this will come into play in future books in the series, but in this one, it just kind of seemed to come out of no where, and then Phe just went from not understanding any of it, to being able to use extraordinary powers without any training or studying or explanation.  It really wasn't that big of a deal, I didn't hate it, I just think it would have been more unique and interesting to have a "paranormal" that ended up not really being paranormal at all, but based in science.

At the beginning of the book I had a hard time understanding why Phe was so attracted to Zach.  I thought the attraction was a little fast, but later in the story I enjoyed their relationship and even fell for Zach myself.  He was a sweetie and I loved the way he always looked out for Phe.  And I also really liked Phe's character.  She was really witty, and constantly coming up with quick, snarky comebacks, which I love in a girl.

I wasn't crazy about the setting of the boarding school.  I guess I'm just getting tired of boarding school settings.  It seems like every other book I read is set at a boarding school, which basically makes the book feel like it's about college kids, and not high school kids.  Especially when they are basically able to do whatever they want, with no real supervision.  It's just not very believable.  But, again, not really a huge deal, just something that is at the back of my mind when reading.  

I think the thing with this book is that it suffered a little from Series Syndrome and the middle just didn't have that much going on, and I got a little bored, and when I get bored reading I start nit-picking everything.  I thought the beginning of the book was really interesting and entertaining.  I thought the end was pretty exciting and suspenseful.  And I love the overall premise of the book.  It was just that the middle seemed to drag on, making what could have been one really good book into what may end up being just an ok series for me.  

4 out of 6

You may like to know:  There's a moderate amount of sexual content/dialog, and quite a bit of cussing in this book.  There's also a moderate amount of violence.  For more information, go to Shadow Hills on Parental Book Reviews.

Another great book trailer by Vania!


  1. Thanks Jenilee! I thought it might be so middle-of-the-road that no one would get anything out of it! :)


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