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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Review: FALLING UNDER by Gwen Hayes

Hello debut novelist!  (And let me just bow down to this cover for a moment.)

Theia Alderson has always led a sheltered life in the small California town of Serendipity Falls. But when a devastatingly handsome boy appears in the halls of her school, Theia knows she's seen Haden before- not around town, but in her dreams. 

As the Haden of both the night and the day beckons her closer one moment and pushes her away the next, the only thing Theia knows for sure is that the incredible pull she feels towards him is stronger than her fear. 

And when she discovers what Haden truly is, Theia's not sure if she wants to resist him, even if the cost is her soul.

Hayes has created a paranormal world that's amazingly different from anything I've read before.  While it's become somewhat cliche to use dreams too much in books, Hayes does it really well.  When I started the book, I thought it was going to be like "Meet Joe Black" for YA.  I mean, come on, his name is Haden Black and there's a lot of too-good-to-be-true about him.  But the more I read, the more I realized it was more like a romance plunged into the world of "A Nightmare Before Christmas."  Believe me when I tell you this is a good thing.  :)

Some things about the characters bothered me a little bit - Theia was too sheltered, one of her smart friends was too in love with a guy who barely had a heartbeat, and the other friend was too bitchy (especially to her boy friend, who seemed to really like her anyway).  Oh yeah, and we had another dead mom.

But other than these minor gripes, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  The chemistry between Theia and Haden is smoking hot.  There's this one scene where they're trying so hard not to touch each other (without much success) that I practically felt like I was smoldering myself.

It's really hard to tell you much more without giving away some plot twists.  Just be prepared to fall down the proverbial rabbit hole along with the characters and wonder if Hayes majored in tragic irony.  I loved the ending and truly am looking forward to seeing what happens in the next book in the sequel.  
Overall, I give this stunning debut novel 4 Greek coins -- and OMG! rating.  If you love your stories dark but your romances flaming hot, you'll want to check out this book.  You might also be interested in some of Hayes' short stories -- which you can learn more about on her webpage.  There, you can also read an excerpt from FALLING UNDER and watch the trailer.  Hope you enjoy!!