January 5, 2010
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If you loved Harry Potter, you'll love Bleeding Violet. If you only kind of liked Harry Potter, you'll love Bleeding Violet. If you've been looking for something a little more Jack and Coke to Harry Potter's Cherry Coke, then you'll love Bleeding Violet because it's it.
It might even be more absinthe and Coke to Harry Potter's Cherry Coke. (And no, it is not good to use alcoholic drinks in comparing YA books, but I couldn't think of anything more apt.)
After her father dies, 16-year-old Hanna Jarvinen has to live with her aunt. When her aunt tries to send her to a mental institution, though, Hanna hits her over the head with a rolling pin and flees to Portero, Texas to her mother's. Her mother whom she's never met. Hanna's mother definitely doesn't want her to stay, but Hanna wiles her way into a deal that has her staying-at least for a little while . . . staying in a town that may be even weirder than her.
Portero is a town where everyone wears black, fears monsters called 'lures' and has to be protected by the Mortmaine. The strangeness starts on Hanna's first day of high school and only grows from there.
Wearing only purple and still speaking some Finnish, Hanna almost fits in in Portero in a strange way. She's still in constant danger, though. Good thing her new crush Wyatt's a member of the Mortmaine.
Bleeding Violet is a like a perfect young adult fantasy book. It's not children's level but it's not full of sex and explicitness either (though there is actually some). The way that Peeps is a great young adult book that's actually for young adults, Bleeding Violet is a paranormal, horror book actually for young adults and not twelve-year-olds and not thirty-year-olds (though also not not for the latter ...or some of the former, I suppose).
The plot is really well developed because the monster-yness all makes sense and follows so that none of it seems to come out of nowhere (or when it does it's on purpose). The characters are also amazing, amazing. Having a bipolar main characters who is sometimes on medication and sometimes not and in a town like Portero makes for one seriously awesome book. Not in an insensitive way, either. Hanna's not bipolar so that it can be 'ooh, look, she's crazy'...but it makes the story all that it can be with the insanity of the town and the insanity of her mind and the way that you don't always know which is which.
I should probably also mention that Hanna's biracial...though I don't really know why...other than it's interesting having her have her black mother in Texas and her Finnish father who raised her.
Can't wait for more from Dia Reeves (I'm serious--I kept checking on her site to see when she'd have a new book!).