Author: Alyson Noel
Page Count: 306
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance
Synopsis/Thoughts: Okay, so I've been sitting here racking my brain trying to figure out something good to say about this book. First, quick plot summary: It's about a sixteen-year-old girl named Ever whose entire family was killed in a tragic car accident. She survived, but mysteriously gained the ability to read peoples' minds, see peoples' auras and see dead people (including her younger sister Riley, who was killed in the accident). She moves from Oregon to Laguna Beach to live with her rich attorney aunt, who is her only surviving relative. She retreats into a downward spiral of grief and guilt, because she feels like it's her fault her family was killed in the accident. Also, she finds her new ability to read peoples' minds overwhelming, so she basically just hides herself in over-sized jeans and hoodies and blasts her iPod all day long at school (she doesn't actually ever have to pay attention in class, because for some reason her new abilities also allow her to touch a book and magically know everything it says). Back in Oregon she was a popular cheerleader with a hot boyfriend, but all of the popular kids at her new school hate her passionately and for no particular reason, and spend every spare moment of their time thinking about what a loser she is (she can hear their thoughts, remember?) although you would think they would eventually find something better to do. The only people she manages to make friends with are a goth girl named Haven and a gay guy named Miles, although why they're even friends with her is mystery because she doesn't ever do anything but sit around and feel sorry for herself.
Enter Damen Auguste, the new guy at school. He's tall, dark and handsome. He's mysterious. And he is instantly obsessed with Ever. He sits next to her in biology (no wait...English...sorry, I was thinking of something else) and Ever realizes he is Someone Special, because she can't read his thoughts or see his aura, and whenever he speaks to her or touches her he silences the psychic cacophony in her head. Please, stop me if you think you've heard this one before. He basically proceeds to string her along, at one moment making her think he likes her, the next flirting with one of the popular girls. Oh, and he fabricates flowers out of thin air. Eventually he admits that yes, he does like her, but he still keeps acting mysteriously. Disappearing for long periods of time, not telling Ever anything about his past, not allowing her to visit him at his house. He never eats anything, just drinks a mysterious red liquid he carries around with him at all times. He has super strength and super speed and is rich for no apparent reason. Ever eventually draws the conclusion that he is a vampire. Gee, I wonder why? But Damen sets her straight. No, he is not a vampire, why would Ever ever think something like that? He is an Immortal, with a capital I, which is something totally and completely different. After all, Damen doesn't sparkle. The process by which one can become Immortal is a little bit vague. Something about Damen's father being an alchemist Long Long Ago and Far Far Away who discovered the secret to immortality. But basically, in addition to the whole never dying thing, other perks include being psychic and reading auras and talking to dead people, being able to manipulate matter and travel between dimensions (and I'm assuming you probably get free air miles and a cool bumper sticker too).
So, as you by now may have figured out...EVER is an Immortal TOO! GASP! It was actually Damen who rescued her from the car crash, and he saved her life by making her an Immortal. Hence why an otherwise ordinary car crash turned her into Freaky Psychic Girl. But why on Earth would an Immortal (with a capital I!) like Damen be interested in saving the life of a teenage cheerleader? This is where it really gets good, because it turns out Ever has actually lived before, in fact she has been reincarnated many many times. And in each incarnation, Damen found her and they fell head over heels in love, but she always died tragically shortly after they met. Damen couldn't bear to lose her again, so he turned her into an Immortal (still with a capital I!) so they could be together forever and for always. Though why it took him that many lifetimes to figure out all he had to do was give her some Immortal Juice and it would prevent the cycle from repeating itself over and over and over is beyond me. And no, Immortal Juice was not actually capitalized in the book, that's just me trying to get into the spirit of things.
But [dramatic pause:] little do Ever and Damen know that the reason Ever always died tragically in all of her previous lifetimes was because Drina, Damen's Immortal wife and the requisite Saucy Redhead, always found Ever and killed her because she was jealous. So let's recap. Damen and Drina: married. Damen meets Ever: instant True Love. Drina, upset (rather justifiably, in my opinion) that Damen is cheating on her, kills Ever. Damen, never catching on to the fact that Drina is the one responsible for killing Ever eleventy-billion times over, goes back to her. Ever reincarnates as someone else. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. So, surprise surprise, Drina shows up and tries to kill Ever again, and almost succeeds due to the fact that Damen is nowhere to be found for some reason. But Ever heals herself...wait for it...WITH THE POWER OF LOVE! Then Damen whisks her away to a magical place called Summerland where it's all rainbows and candy and bunnies and squirrels hopping around singing. Then some other stuff that doesn't really matter happens. Then Drina shows up again to tries to kill Ever, and Ever defeats her by punching her in the heart chakra, which instantly kills her because...wait for it...DRINA HAS LOST THE POWER TO LOVE! Then it's happily ever after...but wait! There's a sequel! So there's some foreshadowing but I honestly don't remember what happened because I frankly stopped caring a long time ago.
So much for a quick plot summary. But basically, this was the worst train wreck of a book I've read in a LONG time. It was a blatant Twilight rip-off, taking all the things that made those books bad and making them ten times worse. What's worse is that they don't even try to disguise that this is the case. Even the covers are way too similar. In fact, my husband, who makes it a point to remain as ignorant as possible on the subject of Twilight, saw the cover and thought this book had something to do with that series. And the title of the next book? Blue Moon.
As if that weren't enough, Ever is an off-the-charts Mary Sue, and as a character she should have been scrapped from the get-go. Damen was just as irritating, and one got the impression he was just trying to get into Ever's pants the entire time. Even Drina was the most cheesy villain ever, making sure she explained every detail of her Diabolical Master Plan to Ever before she killed her.
The plot made very little sense, and while presumably there will be more elaboration made on things as the series progresses, there are some major plot holes I just don't think are fixable.
Anyway, I won this book for free as part of the Goodreads' First Reads program, and as much as I wish I could recommend it, I just can't. It all feels to me like one big master plan some publishing bigwigs came up with to cash in on the Twilight craze. It even had a bunch of awkward pop culture references thrown in, like someone who had no clue what they were doing thought inserting a few brand names and popular songs would make it more appealing to their targeted age range. If it seemed like the author had actually put a teeny little bit of thought or effort into developing the plot or characters I might be able to forgive a lot of the flaws this book had. Twilight, for instance, had many of the same flaws, but it seemed at least like Stephanie Meyer sincerely cared about her writing. This one just has "fast money" written all over it.
So in conclusion, save yourselves the trouble, PLEASE. You'll thank me for not having to waste your time on this.