I don’t know about you, but it’s rare for me to find supernatural books for teens that deviate from the standard middle-class, thin, perfect, white-girl heroine. Maybe I’m not looking in the right places, but my latest read, an ARC I received recently, found it’s way to me, and it provided a somewhat refreshing change from the typical paranormal romance. The girl in Living Violet, the first book in The Cambion Chronicles by Jaime Reed, is a tough, no-nonsense, biracial girl who is careful with her heart and won’t give it away easily to anyone. At least, not yet…
Samara is not like most of the girls around her. She respects her parents (most of the time, anyway), she’s a loyal friend, she expects people to accept her just as she is, she’s a hard worker…and she isn’t drooling over Caleb, the mysterious guy with the violet eyes who works with her at Buncha Books. Caleb’s not even all that hot, but he can’t keep the women off of him. Samara gets that his eyes may be kind of cool, but girls don’t usually go stark-raving mad because a guy has pretty eyes. What is it about him? And why has he suddenly decided that chasing Samara, the one girl who can resist him, is a great idea?
Soon, Samara’s curiosity gets the best of her, and she and Caleb strike up an unlikely friendship. Samara is driven by her need to know more about the enigma that is Caleb…particularly why the girls he “cavorts” with tend to end up in the hospital with heart failure. As Caleb slowly reveals his secrets to Samara, she is both repulsed and intrigued.
Samara wants to know more about Caleb’s “condition” and how she can possibly help him fight the demon within. Will she be able to help him without losing herself? When someone from Caleb’s past enters the picture and threatens everything and everyone Samara holds dear, will Samara and Caleb, who are just figuring out their feelings for each other, be strong enough to fight something determined to tear them apart? Read Living Violet, the first book in Jaime Reed’s Cambion Chronicles, to find out!
Living Violet is a nice first book in what promises to be an interesting series. This was a fairly quick read that will appeal to females, especially those who don’t really feel represented in standard YA paranormal fiction. A biracial girl living in the South has very different experiences than, say, a pasty white girl who moves to Washington. (This is coming from a pasty white girl who lives in the South.)
Since I received an uncorrected proof of this book, there were some glaring grammatical errors that distracted me a bit, but I’m sure those have been corrected for the final printing. All in all, though, I liked this book, and I would recommend it to any high school or young adult library collection.
Living Violet is currently available wherever books are sold, and the sequel, Burning Emerald (a spectacular title givin the way the first book ended), is set for a June 2012 release. If you’d like more information about The Cambion Chronicles or author Jaime Reed, visit http://jreedwriteordie.blogspot.com/.