Evermore (The Immortals #1) by Alyson Noël Rating:5/5 Description: After a horrible accident claims the lives of her family, sixteen-year-old Ever Bloom can see people’s auras, hear their thoughts, and know someone’s entire life story by touching them. Going out of her way to avoid human contact and suppress her abilities, she has been branded a freak at her new high school-but everything changes when she meets Damen Auguste.
Damen is gorgeous, exotic, and wealthy. He’s the only one who can silence the noise and random energy in her head-wielding a magic so intense, it’s as though he can peer into her soul. As Ever is drawn deeper into his enticing world of secrets and mystery, she’s left with more questions than answers. And she has no idea who he really is-or what he is. The only thing she knows to be true is that she’s falling deeply and helplessly in love with him. Review: This is a three-and-a-half star book for me, though it started out higher than that – the second book crystalised all the things that bothered me about this one. Ever since the car accident that killed her parents, younger sister Riley, and pet dog Buttercup, and gave her the ugly scar on her brow that she hides behind her hair, sixteen year old Ever has been seeing and hearing things. She sees people’s auras in a rainbow of colours, hears their thoughts, can absorb an entire book simply by touching it – and learn all about a person’s life from touching them. With her family dead, her father’s twin sister Sabine, a high-powered lawyer who tries hard but has no idea what to do with a sullen teenager, takes her in and gives her all she could have wanted in her previous life as a popular cheerleader with a boyfriend. The move to California from Oregon isn’t the only change: Ever hides herself in hoodies, plugs her ears with her iPod to try to drown out the psychic noise, and stays quiet and unobtrusive. She’s considered a freak in the new school, where her only friends, Haven and Miles, are also looked down upon. Despite the scar and the hooded sweatshirts, she’s still blonde and beautiful. But she’s far from popular and she likes it that way. Her ordered, lonely life – where her only visitor is her dead sister Riley – becomes a big huge mess with the arrival of heart-stoppingly gorgeous Damen Auguste. Well-travelled, knowledgeable, sophisticated, and dreamy, all the girls start fighting over him – but the only one he seems interested in is Ever. Doing magic tricks with red tulips, which he pulls from behind her ear, turning up at her modest Halloween party as the Count Axel match to her Marie Antoinette, getting close to her then drawing away, inexplicably distant: Ever battles to keep a distance herself, to not fall for him, a man she knows almost nothing about. But he’s the one person whose thoughts she can’t hear, who has no distracting aura, and who miraculously dampens her psychic senses whenever he touches her or speaks. It’s almost addictive, and as the mystery deepens and Ever tries to understand what’s going on – with her friends, with the gorgeous, haughty Drina who seems very close to Damen – she must face the truth about the terrible accident, her psychic abilities, Damen himself – and decide the course of her life. I read this this morning in one sitting; it was itself very addicting. Written in first-person present tense, I didn’t even notice until about half-way through that it wasn’t in past tense, so flawlessly is it written. It’s hard to do present tense well, but it works admirably well here. Ever’s voice is captivating in a subtle way, the prose just right. I found her entirely sympathetic, understandable, mature, and aside from her stubbornness over Ava, never irritating. The pacing, too, is beautifully timed, details revealed at just the right moment, never hidden for the sake of trying to be mysterious. Another pleasing character was Damen, who was complex, unpredictable, intense enough to please me, and fascinating enough to grip me. It’s hard to picture him as a teenager – I kept seeing him as about 30, 32. Mature. Experienced. Although I find his age – 17 – to be improbable considering what he accomplished at that age, I did find him believable. And desirable! Yeah I have a bit of a crush on Damen. Evermore is a lot darker than the others in this sub-genre, but is balanced by Ever’s engaging narrative, sweet Miles (the classic gay sidekick, here handled a great deal better than in, say, the House of Night books), some fun, light-hearted scenes and the warm, sunny Laguna Beach climate. The book drew me in for four hours and completely took over my brain. Just the way I like it. I highly recommend this one. -Kathy @SMBSLT