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Beautiful Creatures Paperback – September 14, 2010


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Series: Beautiful Creatures (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (September 14, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316077038
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316077033
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 6.7 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3,835 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #163,466 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Ethan Wate is struggling to hide his apathy for his high school "in" crowd in small town Gatlin, South Carolina, until he meets the determinedly "out" Lena Duchannes, the girl of his dreams (literally--she has been in his nightmares for months). What follows is a smart, modern fantasy--a tale of star-crossed lovers and a dark, dangerous secret. Beautiful Creatures is a delicious southern Gothic that charms you from the first page, drawing you into a dark world of magic and mystery until you emerge gasping and blinking, wondering what happened to the last few hours (and how many more you're willing to give up). To tell too much of the plot would spoil the thrill of discovery, and believe me, you will want to uncover the secrets of this richly imagined dark fantasy on your own. --Daphne Durham

Amazon Exclusive Interview with Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, Authors of Beautiful Creatures

What does your writing process look like? Is it tough to write a book together? Did you ever have any knock-down drag-out fights over a plot point or character trait?

Margie: The best way to describe our writing process is like a running stitch. We don't write separate chapters, or characters. We pass the draft back and forth constantly, and we actually write over each other's work, until we get to the point where we truly don't know who has written what.

Kami: By the end of the book, we don't even know. The classic example is when I said, "Marg, I really hate that line. It has to go." And she said, "Cut it. You wrote it."

Margie: I think we were friends for so long before we were writing partners that there was an unusual amount of trust from the start.

Kami: It's about respect. And it helps that we can't remember when who wrote the bad line.

Margie: We save our big fights for the important things, like the lack of ice in my house or how cold our office is. And why none of my YouTube videos are as popular as the one of Kami's three-fingered typing…okay, that one is understandable, given the page count for "Beautiful Creatures."

Kami: What can I say? I was saving the other seven fingers for the sequel.

What kinds of books do you like to read?

Kami: I read almost exclusively Young Adult fiction, with some Middle Grade fiction thrown in for good measure. As a Reading Specialist, I work with children and teens in grades K-12, so basically I read what they read.

Margie: When I write it comes from the same place as when I read: wanting to hang out with fictional characters in fictional worlds. I identify more as a reader than a writer; I just have to write it first so I can read it.

What books/authors have inspired you?

Kami: "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee, "A Good Man is Hard to Find & Other Stories" by Flannery O'Connor, "Fahrenheit 451" by Ray Bradbury and "The Witching Hour" by Anne Rice. I also love Pablo Neruda.

Margie: I think Harper Lee is the greatest writer alive today. Eudora Welty is my other Southern writer kindred; I was obsessed with her in grad school. Susan Cooper and Diana Wynne Jones made me love fantasy, and my favorite poets are Emily Dickinson (at Amherst College, I even lived on her street) and Stevie Smith.

Did you set out to write fiction for young adults? Why?

Kami: We actually wrote "Beautiful Creatures" on a dare from some of the teen readers in our lives.

Margie: Not so much readers as bosses.

Kami: Looking back, we wrote it sort of like the serialized fiction of Charles Dickens, turning in pages to our teen readers every week.

Margie: And by week she means day.

Kami: When we were getting texts in the middle of the night from teens demanding more pages, we knew we had to finish.

Margie: As it says in our acknowledgements, their asking what happened next changed what happened next. Teens are so authentic. That's probably why we love YA. Even when it's fantasy, it's the emotional truth.

A lot of us voracious readers like to cast a book after reading it. Did you guys have a shared view of who your characters are? Did each of you take a different character to develop, or did you share every aspect?

Kami: We've never cast our characters, but we definitely know what they look like. Sometimes we see actors in magazines and say, "Lena just wore that!"

Margie: We create all our characters together, but after a point they became as real as any of the other people we know. We forget they're not.

Kami: I never thought of it like that. I guess we do spend all our time talking about imaginary people. Margie: So long as it's not to them…

Did you always plan to start the book with Ethan's story? Why?

Kami: We knew before we started that we wanted to write from a boy's point of view. Margie and I both have brothers—-six, between us-—so it wasn't a stretch. It's an interesting experience to fall in love with the guy telling the story rather than the guy the story is about.

Margie: We do kind of love Ethan, so we wanted there to be more to him than just the boy from boy meets girl.

Kami: He's the guy who stands by you at all costs and accepts you for who you are, even if you aren't quite sure who that is.

What is on your nightstand now?

Kami: I have a huge stack, but here are ones at the top: "Mama Dip's Kitchen," a cookbook by Mildred Council, "The Demon's Lexicon" by Sarah Rees Brennan, "Shadowed Summer" by Saundra Mitchell, "Rampant" by Diana Peterfreund, and an Advanced Reader Copy of "Sisters Red" by Jackson Pearce.

Margie: I have Robin McKinley's "Beauty," Maggie Stiefvater's "Ballad," Kristen Cashore's "Fire," Libba Bray's "Going Bovine," and "Everything Is Fine" by AnnDee Ellis. And now I'm mad because I know a) Kami stole my "Rampant" and b) didn't tell me she has "Sisters Red"!

What is your idea of comfort reading?

Kami: If given the choice, I'll always reach for a paranormal romance or an urban fantasy. I also re-read my favorite books over and over.

Margie: It's all comfort reading to me. I sleep with books in my bed. Like a dog, only without the shedding and the smelling.

Have you written the next book already? What's next for Lena and Ethan?

Margie: We are revising the next book now. I don't want to give too much away, but summer in Gatlin isn't always a vacation.

Kami: I would describe book two as intense and emotional. For Ethan and Lena, the stakes are even higher.

Margie: That's true. Book two involves true love, broken hearts, the Seventeenth Moon, and cream-of-grief casseroles…

Kami: Gatlin at it's finest!

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 7 Up—Ethan Wate, a high school sophomore, plans to escape his small Southern town as soon as he can. Life has been difficult since his mother died; his father, a writer, has withdrawn into his study. Then Lena Duchannes arrives, and this strange new girl is the very one who has been occupying his dreams. She and her kin are Casters, beings who have supernatural powers. Getting to know her exposes Ethan to time travel, mortal danger, and love. The teens can hardly bear to be apart, but Lena's 16th birthday, when she will be Claimed for dark or light, is only 6 months away. To save her, they fight supernatural powers and the prejudice of closed-minded people. Yet, good and evil are not clearly delineated, nor are they necessarily at odds. In the Gothic tradition of Anne Rice, the authors evoke a dark, supernatural world in a seemingly simple town obsessed with Civil War reenactments and deeply loyal to its Confederate past. The intensity of Ethan and Lena's need to be together is palpable, the detailed descriptions create a vivid, authentic world, and the allure of this story is the power of love. The satisfying conclusion is sure to lead directly into a sequel. Give this to fans of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight (Little, Brown, 2005) or HBO's "True Blood" series and they will devour all 600-plus pages of this teen Gothic romance.—Amy J. Chow, The Brearley School, New York City
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
5 star
2,131
4 star
967
3 star
456
2 star
174
1 star
107
See all 3,835 customer reviews
The characters were very well written and the plot flow great.
Kaylyn Davis
I love the way the relationship between Ethan and Lena develops and the links between all the other characters.
Avid Reader
This is one of those books that you won't want to put down even after you have read the last page.
Underwords

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1,281 of 1,327 people found the following review helpful By Tabitha VINE VOICE on November 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I liked this book. It was interesting, the paranormal aspects were fairly unique, and I love a story with a long family history like this one has.

But I just liked it. It never grabbed me by the throat and demanded that I keep reading. I think, mostly, this was because the pacing was off. There was too much time during the story when I was relaxed and not worried about whether the characters were going to get out of trouble. Sure, there were intense moments when I was glued to the pages, but then things slowed down too much and I was lulled into a strange sense of security. This made it too easy to set the book down.

The characters weren't as developed as I wanted them to be, either. Ethan's voice felt too feminine to me. Actually, when I first started reading, I thought the story was from Lena's perspective, just based on the voice. Then, after I adjusted to Ethan's voice, he didn't feel real to me. His entire character felt cliche, like the teenage girl's ideal boyfriend, not what boys are actually like (I think another reviewer said this, and I couldn't agree more).

Then there was the setting. It didn't *feel* like the south. To me, the story could have taken place in any rural situation. We didn't get a sense of southern culture, which is so unique and could have had an amazing impact on the story. A really good example of southern setting, by the way, is Shadowed Summer by Saundra Mitchell. Great book. But I digress...

Beautiful Creatures is a good story. I think it could have been great if it had been shorter, which would have increased the tension and kept the reader glued to the pages through the whole story. Or, at least, if it had a bit more depth to it with the characters and setting.
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440 of 513 people found the following review helpful By Dragon Quill on September 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I have never really liked romance plots, and most of the time I despise YA romance. I don't think I will ever much like either, and my track record will most likely show cynical remarks for everything from the movie Titanic to Twilight to Pride and Prejudice and especially Romeo and Juliet. But Beautiful Creatures is an anomaly on that review record. Because I didn't just enjoy Beautiful Creatures. I loved it. And not just because there's magic in it.

First I loved the return to 1990's modern fantasy! For anyone who doesn't know what that amounts to: witches. Not ones with a special, hidden school (under no circumstances, however, am I complaining about Harry Potter) but the ones who hide in plain sight. Sabrina the Teen Age Witch. Disney Channel's Halloween movies. TNT's Charmed. Casper the Ghost. Having grown up with books and TV shows such as those, the return to witches and curses and dark charmed objects is more than welcome. But even if you won't be on the nostalgia train with me, the witch element should be welcome to anyone even remotely tired of faeries/fairies, angels, demons, werewolves, and (dare I say it?) vampires.

Second I loved the incorporation of 90s fantasy with 21st century style--something I'm sure fans of the current YA will enjoy. What I mean is a first person story that moves quickly. This novel moves quick, sucking the reader right along. Yet, even when incorporating the 21st century style, Beautiful Creatures still manages to be different: it's first person, through the guy's POV. Kinda neat.

The third thing I loved is the length of this novel. Most YA these days is rushed, even if it is long, and it doesn't seem properly developed. Rushed, in musical terms, like things were cut out.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By ChristieK on September 13, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really was expecting to like this book. I love YA fiction and read it constantly, and this had such great reviews. The concept was interesting and I was fully prepared to continue on and buy the other books in the series. However, I ended up basically forcing myself to finish just this one and kind of wishing I hadn't bought it. (But at least I'm happy that I got it as a Kindle Daily Deal and saved some $$$.) Here are my issues:

Ethan's voice -- I'm sorry, but this was not a teenage male speaking. I found the thoughts and words of the narrarator to be very girly. Just because you talk about being on the basketball team and throw in a couple "Dude" statements doesn't make you a guy. His responses and emotions were not in line with his gender.

Lena -- YAWN. There was no zing. I get that her hair curls when she's making magic and that she's got beautiful green eyes, but to me she seemed whiny and annoying and other than being attractive, I cannot see why someone would have been drawn to her. Yes, I get the premise of the book, but the way their attraction was described wasn't as intense or forceful as it could have been. I mean, this is teen love we're talking about it, one of the most all-encompassing, passionate experiences. I think that's what the authors were trying to get across but they didn't quite get there for me.

The town of Gaitlin -- I'm pretty sure they didn't leave out a single Southern cliche. I'm a Yankee born and raised now living in the South, and I'm well aware of the War of Northern Aggression (or the War Between the States) and Southern pride and all that jazz. But this town was almost like a parody. Not believable in any way -- maybe if the book had been set 30 years ago or something, but not now.
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