Here’s the new gothic twist….take a guy, a new girl arriving in an old Southern town, family tragedy, the town recluse and dreams, lots of dreams, foretelling a fate…..Beautiful Creatures looks and feels like the old Southern gothic supernatural tale it wants to be. It’s a thick book with kicky chapter titles that actually reads quite well. Ethan Wate (the current Ethan) is having dreams – nightmares really – about losing someone he loves, a girl. And then the girl – the town recluse’s niece, Lena Duchannes - arrives at school and there’s something about Lena that Ethan is drawn to. Ethan is not your typical Gatlin High student. He isn’t really into sports though he plays good b-ball and he hides his books under his bed akin to hiding his smarts in the ‘typical’ y’all get along with books now, ya hear, southern small town culture. Ethan reads JD Salinger and Richard Wilbur and Ken Kesey. Mom died last year and Dad is a walking skeleton of the parent he used to be. Only ‘Ammie’ keeps things on the norm at the Wate household. But the attraction to the new girl goes against the high school culture of NOT accepting the unusual especially Lena Duchannes, gothic and dark and curiously tipping on some sort of extraordinary power. This book has very interesting family trees and overtones of a not so latent War Among the States mentally - aka the South shall never be beaten, and there is a lush, warm almost Ann Ricey tone to the book. Not as well written as Ann Rice, but very, very readable. The twist? Well, it’s not ‘Bella’ who’s hooked on Edward; it’s ‘Ethan’ who’s smitten with the odd girl out, Lena. New supernatural nomenclature in this one along with the familiar. I didn’t get a deep sense of the main characters out of the writing and actually felt the side characters – Ammie and Macon - were better drawn out than Ethan and Lena. Highly recommended as a good summer or darkening fall read as long as you are not offended by supernatural power themes. The newest book in the series comes out this fall. Again, you’ve got to love YA literature…it is SO good.