Beautiful Creatures by Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia

by Victoria Testa

A surge of energy swirled through my veins. Thrills, panic, joy. These are the emotions I felt as I read Beautiful Creatures. It felt like everything that happened to the characters was happening to me. I felt like I had entered Gatlin, South Carolina, with all the mystery, intrigue, and magic a reader could ask for.

Gatlin, South Carolina is a long forgotten town. Too small for even a Starbucks, Gatlin was the sight of one of the most vicious battles of the Civil War. Now, active members of the Daughter’s of Liberty reign supreme. The Stop-and-Steal is the most popular spot in town. Ravenwood Manor houses its own Boo Radley-esque recluse. Simply put, it is town where nothing ever happens.

That’s exactly what Ethan Wate thought as he counts the days until he can leave Gatlin. That is, until Elena Dushannes arrives. The niece of the reclusive Macon Ravenwood, Elena is shunned for not fitting the Southern girl stereotype. Dark clothing and a rebellious attitude make her public enemy number one among gossipy housewives and their daughters alike.

But, for Ethan, she isn’t new. He has been dreaming about her for months, in nightmares where Ethan can never save her, no matter how hard he tries. Is their connection a coincidence? Or is it the beginning of a mystery older than the town itself?

As Ethan and Elena look deep into into Gatlin’s past, their connection grows stronger. Both outcasts, they need each other for protection, comfort, and friendship. Will they ever be more? Or are the secrets of Gatlin’s past keeping them apart?

Beautiful Creatures is the kind of book that grows with you. The start captivates instantly and mystery remains throughout the novel. Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl build tension and secrecy to the point where the reader is just as important to the story as the characters. Engaging and quick, readers are pulled directly into the world of Gatlin.

I loved the choice of Ethan as the narrator. Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl create a fascinating, relatable, and unique voice. Together, they give Ethan a true spark. Despite growing up in Gatlin, he has always been different from the average Joe. As Elena becomes a larger part of his life, the reader travels through his self-discovery alongside him as he realizes that what makes you different makes you stronger.

At first glance, Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl is about dwelling in the past. The characters bond over the ways their history affects them. However, the novel is really about looking to the future. It’s about keeping the past in your heart, but keeping your head forward. It reveals that not everything is set in stone. Beautiful Creatures tells you to command your own destiny to create a future that is nothing short of beautiful.

Victoria Testa lives in New York City but is a beach bum at heart. When not writing or reading, she can be found surfing, swimming, and singing!

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