First Line: I was almost sixteen the first time my grandmother died.
My thoughts: Echoes of the past haunt Amber House like ghosts, and soon-to-be-sixteen Sarah Parsons is the only one in this time who can see them. Although sometimes it seems as if the past can see her, too. And if she can interact with the past, can she change it? And what will that do to her own future?
There are so many things that I love about this book: the secret doorways and tunnels of Amber House; Sarah's relationship with her younger autistic brother, Sam; and Jackson, the neighbor boy, who had visions of Sarah long before he ever met her. Sarah herself, smart and stubborn, is refreshingly real and easy to root for. Amber House is never dull. In fact, it is so well-written that even though I prefer stand-alone novels, I actually can't wait for its sequel, Neverwas, to come out.
First Line: Killing a vampire is actually a lot easier than you'd think.
My thoughts: At last, a teen book where the girl doesn't fall in love with the vampire. What a refreshing change! This book is kind of a cross between Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Supernatural--only instead of the Winchester brothers, you have the Brannick women: Isolde and her mother, Aislinn. And the only thing that scares 16-year-old Izzy? Attending high school for the very first time. (Ghosts and vampires are so much easier to deal with than teen-age boys!) So many things about this book made me laugh. It's definitely a fun (and fast) read. Izzy Brannick is such a great character; I hope Hawkins writes many more books about her and her otherworldly adventures.
First Line: I was born invisible.
My thoughts: I love the premise of this book: cursed by his own grandfather before he was born, Stephen has never been visible to another human being. Not even himself. He lives an invisible life, never interacting or connecting with anyone. But that all changes when Elizabeth moves in down the hall. Because Elizabeth can see him. And maybe she can break his curse. It's the bond that develops between Stephen and Elizabeth that I liked most about this book. What I didn't love is how the chapters alternate between Stephen's and Elizabeth's points of view. (And does every YA novel have to be written in first person?) Despite this, Invisibility gets points for creativity and is definitely a novel worth checking out.