Reviewing this book gives me the great experience of trying something different. Amanda DeWees wrote this for readers aged 15 and up, so my teenage daughter and I read this together and we are going to give a review as a team. From my point of view as a mother, there were some topics discussed in the book that would have given me pause about allowing my daughter to read it, but Amanda did such an awesome job at writing it in a classy, yet dignified manner, I didn’t feel at all embarrassed or concerned about continuing to read this with my teenager. She was able to explain what was going on without explicit details yet maintained the flow of the story.
With all of the things that occupy teenagers today, it was such a joy to watch my daughter get so invested in this book. She read all day yesterday and into the night till her kindle ran out of charge. Many times I would hear her mumble how she would like to kill the “she devil” or laugh out loud when someone did something funny. She would get so passionate about some of the characters, I was beginning to think she was getting ready to go to battle with Joy. The best part of this experience for me was when we would sit and compare notes about what we thought Joy and Tanner should do and how we would make sure the “she devil” was taken care of. For me, not really being interested in teenage fiction, I found this book not only interesting, but it was a wonderful gift that allowed my daughter and I a few hours to bond over a story and characters that we grew to love.
What you have is an academy called Ash Grove. It is a school for performing arts. Joy, whose mother was a talented pianist, died when Joy was very young, leaving her with her father who is taking a leave of absence from his teaching job there to fight his cancer. Joy is struggling to find her own way in life, not really wanting to follow her mothers footsteps in piano, but knowing she doesn’t have the physical attractiveness to become an actress she is left confused and searching for her purpose in life. After accepting a dare from one of the school bullies, she finds Tanner in the cemetery. He is very attractive, but he claims he is dead. All she went in for was a wild rose from the grave of the founder of the school but she leaves with her a new purpose for her life.
The story takes you on twists and turns as she tries to find out why Tanner, now called Tristan, can’t seem to break from the “she devil” who became his guardian when he was 16 and used him as a lover. One night after the school dance, Joy and Tanner find the mysterious rose garden and their lives take on a whole new meaning for each of them. The only way for those two to have a future is for him to leave the “she devil” behind, but there is a problem. She has a “magical” hold on him that no one understands or knows about. Joy is going to have to figure out this puzzle and break that hold that is keeping Tanner prisoner. With the old school being built on the belief of mystical powers and protections from evil spirits, she must go before the school council and beg for help. Never knowing who the enemy might end up being and who she can trust, she is determined that her love for Tanner and their Rose, is worth every battle against the demon spirits.
My daughters point of view…….. This book is so realistic that I was hoping to go the Ash Grove myself. I had to hold my screams in last night so I wouldn’t wake people up. Personally, I am a huge fan of the mystical world and this took it to a new level. Usually mystical books have vampire or ghosts. Don’t get me wrong I love that, but this was a different look into that world. I was on the edge of my seat at times or laughing my butt off at Maddie’s comments. She reminded me of my BFF and other characters reminded of people at my own school, but at the same time they where totally unique. I was about ready to kill some characters at times but over all it was just an amazing book.
I know my daughter and I are going to be reading more of Amanda DeWees books in the near future. I would like to personally thank Amanda for giving us this book and the wonderful experience of doing this review with my daughter. Please take some time to check out this great author and her other books at http://www.amazon.com/Amanda-DeWees/e/B0074OYWMM/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1369769046&sr=1-2-ent
Our next projects will be the other two books in the Ash Grove Chronicles
I am letting my teenage daughter pick the rating.
You heard it, straight from a teenage girls mouth………….DEFINITELY FIVE. I tend to agree with her on this one.