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Haven (PG-16)

Haven-1600px

Author: Mary Lindsey

Publisher: Entangled Teen

Publishing Date: November 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-63375-883-4

four-stars

“We all hold a beast inside. The only difference is what form it takes when freed.” 

Let’s start this review off with a bit of a disclaimer: If you’re looking for an interesting and deep retelling of Beauty and the Beast, this book is NOT for you. If you are, however, interested in horny shape-shifting teens, a small cult-like town, centuries-old magic, and somewhat stereotypical characters, all of which have a lot of deeper underlying meanings and symbolism, then you’ll enjoy this book! Now, let me spend the rest of this review elaborating on that because though it may not seem like it from the first snippet of my review, I actually liked this book!

First Impressions/Pros and Cons:

The first thing that drew me to this book was the caption on the cover which read “Sometimes beauty is the beast…” Whoa! What? This instantly peaked my curiosity. The synopsis just continued to reel me in after that. The book features a murder mystery that had me somewhat guessing until the end. I’d say I figured it out about 75% through the novel, but that didn’t stop Lindsey from placing other plot twists that I hadn’t been expecting. I love how she hinted at certain details vaguely in the beginning of the book and would come full circle many chapters later and clear up my suspicions. I loved her writing style, too, seeing how I read most of the book in one sitting! She definitely created a page-turner.

I think the only thing I didn’t like about this novel was the steamy scenes. Don’t get me wrong, they were well written, and had me craving more – but personally, I don’t like to indulge in those kinds of reads. I’m quite fine being held in suspense for 80% of the book and then they finally have a super passionate kiss! That is satisfying to me anyway. This book included much more than a single passionate kiss…

I also didn’t like that Rain constantly sexualized Freddie. I understand that this was his first experience with his feelings and his hormones, but it felt like at times he couldn’t express his love for her without also making it clear that he wanted her sexually, too. Don’t get me wrong, Freddie is no saint, and definitely did not make it any easier on him with the way she teased him or the times she outright came onto him, but I still didn’t like the behavior on either end.

Characters:

In this novel we have at least a dozen characters that we meet, but we really only intricately see the development of half of them. We have Rain Ryland, our main protagonist. Aaron “Rain” Ryland is an outcast who grew up on the streets of New York, passing from shelter to shelter with his mom. Standing at 6-foot tall and built like a linebacker, most people wrote him off just from intimidation alone, but if they got hold of his record, it would fair much worse. Having spent time in juvie, and regularly removed from school due to fighting Rain has just never had somewhere to call “home” consistently.

After Rain’s mom dies, however, Rain is sent to live with his Aunt Ruby in New Wurzburg where he meets Freddie Burkhart. Freddie isn’t your normal high school girl, though, and we can kind of sense this even from the description of her eyes. Freddie is rude when we first meet her, and we see that she had a 50 ft wall encircling her keeping everyone at a distance. Having lived on the streets for so long, Rain has an innate sense of danger, and he can tell that Freddie is truly in danger. As the two get closer, Freddie is constantly warning him to stay away, but Rain has always been a troublemaker, and really doesn’t know how to follow rules.

One thing that I really loved about Rain’s character is that even though he has this tough exterior, and he’s your stereotypical “ready-for-a-fight-not-scared-of-anything” kind of guy, he has this HUGE heart. He truly wants to see people succeed, and for their well-being. He constantly had little moments with other characters that made my heart melt. He even had a ‘moment’ with the “freak” in the book that made me swoon! Freddie, on the other hand, was different. Her focus was on putting forth this facade of strength and confidence no matter how much she actually just felt like breaking inside. Freddie was “guarded and clearly carrying a lot of baggage she wasn’t ready to unpack.” She was a tough girl by necessity, not by choice.

Thomas, Kurt, and Merrick irritated me throughout most of the book – especially once I found out they were Freddie’s cousins. Though their behavior was like any “typical” high school guy, it didn’t make me want to punch them in the mouth any less. They acted like animals most of the time, which wasn’t far off from the truth. Eventually, I did begin to warm up towards Kurt and Merrick, and at the end I understood Thomas.

Conclusion/Theme

This book essentially is a “Supernatural Romantic Mystery,” with shape-shifting people, horny teens, and an unsolved murder. Personally, the romantic scenes were a bit much for my taste (I don’t like romances,) but that didn’t mean that I wasn’t dying for more of it each time it came up. I honestly feel like between the language in the book, the sexual tension, and “hot” scenes in the book that this novel isn’t appropriate for anyone under 16 years old. I’d give this novel a 4-star rating because it most definitely kept me interested throughout, and was a unique spin on “Beauty and the Beast” with role reversal!

Favorite Quotes:

“Time had simply been a bookmark. Something that held his place while he waited to finish the story.”

“I’m not afraid of dying. I’m afraid of dying for nothing.”

“Fate was a heartless bitch.”

“I believe we all hide a beast inside. The only difference is what form it takes when freed.”

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