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Haven Paperback – January 3, 2012
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Violet has never fit in—she is the weird girl who has seizures. Only she knows that the seizures are actually psychic visions, always violent and always about someone she loves. Now, during her junior year, she has an opportunity to start fresh, and fit in, at Winterhaven, a boarding school in New York where everyone has psychic abilities. There she makes new friends, and the cutest guy at the school, Aidan, seems mesmerized by her. But then the visions reappear, and this time she sees Aidan in a pool of blood, apparently killed by Violet herself. Cook’s first YA novel reads like a blend of the Gemma Doyle trilogy, the Twilight saga, and Lois Duncan’s thrillers, and it will find a wide audience among female fans of gothic novels. With a brooding, almost hypnotic atmosphere, the story’s pace is relentless. Even though the reader often figures out the truth (especially Aidan’s being a vampire) long before Violet does, these discoveries will not take away from the tale’s appeal. Grades 9-12. --Melissa Moore --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Seriously sexy... Hand this one to fans of Gray's similarly themed "Evernight "and to all the girls who have broken the bindings on their Twilight books."--"Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books"
"If you're looking for a refreshing and unique paranormal read, look no further because Haven is the book for you. Filled with interesting plot lines, well-developed, relatable characters, and a swoon-worthy romance, this a book that manages to have it all and more!" --Lauren, goodreads.com
"The pacing and structure of this book are extraordinarily good. The suspense builds and the action gets more intense, as does the anticipation of the development of the relationship between the main characters.
For me, this is a perfect marriage of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight and Lauren Kate's Fallen. This book has all our favorite qualities, all in one lovely, satisfying package.
Anyone who likes YA paranormal needs to read this. Seriously- now. Go get it."
"X-Men meet's Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Twilight... had me hooked, and left me wanting more.
"Haven" was the perfect mixture of mystery, romance and paranormal. If you're a Twilight fan, or a Buffy fan, then you'll love this book. "
"Cook's first YA novel reads like a blend of the Gemma Doyle trilogy, the Twilight saga, and Lois Duncan's thrillers, and it will find a wide audience among female fans of gothic novels" --Booklist
"I love love love loved this book. I was hooked from page one. I'd give it 6 out of 5 stars! "Haven "is a definite MUST READ and a GOOD CHOICE for READING!" --Wanda, goodchoicereading.com
""Haven" is a riveting, exhilarating and spectacular new story from a promising debut author that I couldn't get enough of. Days after finishing the book, I still can't get these characters out of my head. "Haven" is a book I will read again and again!" --bookscompleteme.com
"With a fast-paced plot line, continuously unfolding drama, a bit of romantic anticipation and a few well-timed twists, Haven is bound to be a favorite." --"New York Journal of Books"
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Hope that's enough to whet your appetite. I can't tell anymore of the story without giving anything away. I will say that Violet has some friends with interesting abilities and I was glad the author explained them more fully because I didn't know what they were. Anyone well versed on astral projection? No, me either. But the author is good about explaining everything we don't understand. With some interesting new folklore on a being we know a lot about. And we get some science lessons. Yeah, I just kind of let some of the harder stuff float by. But some of it was really interesting. And where this story is leading, well, there are a couple of threads, are all incredibly interesting and like nothing I've ever read before. So, while it might tickle your mind with some memories of other books, it really is fresh and unique and the writing is easy and flows from one chapter to the next. The book is written from Violet's point of view and there is something called "The Aidan Effect" that is really funny to read in action. It's almost four hundred pages long, but it goes by fast. There is a little lag time in certain points, but it picks right back up again. You really won't notice too much.
I can't recall bad words. There was some lusting, but no actual descriptions of sex. A memory of some kind, but I don't know if it could be called sex. Lots of kissing. I'd say 13 and up would be fine to read this.
The relationship between Violet and Aidan, while reminiscent of Edward and Bella, didn't quite click for me in the same way. Their relationship felt rushed, and yet I failed to feel any real urgency or heat between the two. The twist in their relationship would have been interesting...had it not played a major role on a certain TV show months before. Plus, the attempt of explanation for it felt weak. It was difficult to warm up to the characters on their own, too. The Aidan effect failed to dazzle me and Violet felt very immature; I never got a real sense of growth from her. The Sabbat storyline was a turning point, but it was only introduced halfway through the book and, even then, not fully explored. I guess there's always a sequel?
The ending felt abrupt. The "big bad" was also only introduced towards the end, but there was a buildup to his arrival so I expected an epic showdown. It was all over within a page or so - I actually looked back to make sure I hadn't accidentally skipped over some pages in between. Very anti-climatic.
There were parts of the book that I did enjoy - I did, after all, speed through it pretty quickly - and I'm curious enough to maybe pick up future sequels but, ultimately, the execution of Haven just didn't work for me.
Not familiar with that story? What about this one? A protagonist who has strange experiences she can't explain and can't control goes to a boarding school. Once she arrives, she discovers that everyone else at the school has special talents that set them apart from their more Muggle-ish counterparts. These special talents are a bond linking the protagonist to her peers and she discovers an acceptance at the school that she has never previously known. Finally, the school itself is cloaked in secrecy. Outsiders are completely unaware that Winterhaven School is different from any other academy for the rich and privileged.
Or how about a protagonist with visions like Lisa McMann's Janie from the Wake, Fade, Gone trilogy? Violet McKenna's visions always come true but are as difficult to decipher as the dreams that Janie must decode.
Clearly Violet McKenna's creator, Kristi Cook, has done some heavy borrowing from other fantasy writers, especially from Stephanie Meyers. But while her storylines and plot points might sound clichéd, Cook's debut novel Haven manages to inject some freshness into her almost certainly-headed-for-a-sequel story.
For instance, her protagonist Violet and Violet's vampire boyfriend Aidan Gray are both consumed by a desire for normalcy. This distinguishes them from Meyer's Bella who longs to join her vampire lover in his immortality and from Rawling's Harry Potter who revels in the discovery of his magical powers. On page six, first-person narrator Violet confides, "I wanted to fit in. To blend in." Violet would like nothing better than to rid herself of her precognitive powers, especially as she is helpless to convince even those who love her of their accuracy.
Her boyfriend Aidan has a similar desire. He slaves long hours in his lab to create a cure for his vampirism, a disease he likens to malaria. His determination to rediscover his mortality gains momentum and desperation once he meets Violet. He is convinced that only a cure will make his relationship with Violet possible.
Ironically, Aidan's efforts to alleviate his blood hunger also attract danger, comprising the flashpoint for a showdown between Aidan, Violet, and their friends and the Propagators, vampires who want to spread vampirism far and wide. The Propagators view Aidan's mission as a threat to themselves. Julius, the leader of a Propagator sect is well-known to Aidan. Another surprise sympathizer is as well-known to Aidan, but previous to this, someone Aidan considered an ally.
Themes of self-discovery, loyalty, and the meaning of love run through this book peopled with imaginary characters typical of the fantasy genre. Werewolves, telepaths, telekinetics, astral projectors--all find a place in the world of Cook's Haven, a place that Mrs. Girard, an administrator at the school says, "...was meant to be a safe haven, a nurturing environment for those in need of one." Cook's self-doubting and semi-self-loathing star-crossed lovers certainly fit that bill. And star-crossed they continue to be even as the novel ends.
The lack of resolution in the Violet-Aidan romance and an unveiled secret about the circumstances of Violet's birth and the additional powers those circumstances confer generate enough reader interest that a part two is likely. Hopefully, the sequel will mine rich new territory and leave the Meyers etal clichés behind.
Most recent customer reviews
The romance between Aiden and Violet is so crazy and overwhelming to me.Read more