Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Forever Girl by Rebecca Hamilton (Forever Girl series, Volume 1)

Here's my short review: GO BUY IT!

Now, for the details.

Right off, I felt this deep connection to Sophia, the main character.

Growing up gay, I know what it's like to be isolated and ostracised. You see, Sophia practices Wicca and has the unfortunate chance of living in a small town. She has to continually contend with those looks and comments from the whole town, and from one citizen in particular. Nothing like an ultra-Conservative bigot to help you learn who Sophia really is.

Sophia is confident in who she is and who she wants to be, while at the same time being completely unsure of both (due to her ostracisation from her family and townmates), which makes her a very real, very relatable person.

She is not afraid to share her views, but rarely does so to avoid being further isolated. She's the kind of person who would rather take the harrassment and slights than bring them up to stop them, which would only cause more harrassment.

Now, enough of Sophia. On to the plot!
(I'm not going to get too detailed because this is the first (and only) book in the series and to get incredibly detailed would unravel the book.)

From the beginning, you don't really know what's going to happen and that continues on throughout the whole book. This keeps you drawn in, wondering, waiting for what happens next.

We meet her mentor, friends, mother, and love interest fairly early in the book (think Night Huntress series, my review of which is pending), which leaves space for story-telling and world-building.

The world is slow to build on at first, but soon after meeting her love interest, it gains speed. From then on it alternates between story-telling and world-building, both being incredibly tied together. Sophia starts off clueless, but is then thrown into this other world. It's remarkably well-writ in it's simple complexity.

About mid-book (or maybe just past), we start learning that Sophia is not at all what she seems. She starts off as a Wicca-practicing human, slowly making the transition into Forever Girl Witch. A Forever Girl is a witch who is a reincarnation of their past lives.
(That's all I'm saying on the subject of Forever Girls. Go read it and you'll find out.)

Even though, at the beginning and throughout the book, you've no clue what's going to happen, there's a very subtle background that only just ties into the plot in the beginning and middle, but, in fact, turns out to be the plot! (I didn't see it coming at all, which is very surprising. I rarely don't see what's going to happen, even for a first reading.)

And then, at the end, when you think you know what's going to happen and what's been happening, twist!, it turns on you.

It is truly a testament to Rebecca Hamilton's (follow her on Twitter) abilities that it surprised me. I didn't even have a vague idea where it was going until I got there (which doesn't often happen), which left me with a fierce satisfaction that I didn't know where it was going.

So, to conclude right back where I started: GO BUY IT! You will not regret it at all.

(Here! I'll even put links for you!)


Barnes & Noble

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