Book: Spellbound

SpellboundSpellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz

Publisher: Harlqeuin Teen
Publish Date: June 28, 2011
ISBN: 0373210302
ISBN-13: 9780373210305

Synopsis:  What’s a girl to do when meeting The One means she’s cursed to die a horrible death?

Life hasn’t been easy on sixteen-year-old Emma Conner, so a new start in New York may be just the change she needs. But the posh Upper East Side prep school she has to attend? Not so much. Friendly faces are few and far between, except for one that she’s irresistibly drawn to—Brendan Salinger, the guy with the rock-star good looks and the richest kid in school, who might just be her very own white knight.

But even when Brendan inexplicably turns cold, Emma can’t stop staring. Ever since she laid eyes on him, strange things have been happening. Streetlamps go out wherever she walks, and Emma’s been having the oddest dreams: visions of herself in past lives—visions that warn her to stay away from Brendan. Or else.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I chose this book, the first thing that I saw was the cover. It was intruiging right off the bat. Glass shards, a long set of bridge grills, a lampost, and a girl walking away. What could this story be about, I thought? The title alone had me hoping that this book would have me in the same state of mind.

Spellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz is a cute story of a fairytale filled with a curse that has been lived through generation after generation, encompassing the selfless acts between loved ones.

Shultz writes Spellbound through the eyes of Emma, a 16 year old  girl who has had her fair share of troubles losing one parent, followed by the loss of her twin, and then removing herself from the self-destructing stepfather. She has never met her dad, had a short time with her mother, achingly misses her twin, and had to survive her always drunk stepfather. The book starts after Emma has moved to Manhattan to live with her aunt and start a new life. She now attends a prestigious prep school alongside her cousin and hopes to finally lead a normal life. Aside from being independent, she is self-sufficient, smart, funny, witty, and has a good soul. Emma is constantly battling her own set of demons while trying to find a sense of normalcy. To have experienced so much at an early age, how could you not feel for her?

While at school, Emma meets few who standout in this little exclusive world of cliques, groups, and clubs. One of those few is Brenden. Brenden felt like an old soul. Shultz wrote Brenden as the tall, dark, and dreamy. Doesn’t every book require one? Well, Brenden is it. He is the enigmatic bad boy. He’s popular, but not cruel. He’s handsome, but doesn’t date every single female. He’s smart, but doesn’t parade being a genius. His introduction into the book was perfect, saving Emma from an embarrassing situation. Didn’t I say this was a classic fairy tale? Of course he’s going to be Emma’s white knight.

The progression of Emma and Brenden’s relationship from friendship into something more has a good pace to it. It almost takes the whole book for this to bloom. Shultz chooses the perfect moments to develop the emotions that stir between Emma and Brenden. To me, it felt like Shultz knew what I wanted to read and she wrote it. It wasn’t love at first sight and they were inseperable. No, Emma and Brenden were reserved, guarded, and questioning every moment of their relationship. It was so realistic to how love blossoms between two teenagers.

Throughout the book, Shultz introduces challenging series of events that take play into the development of the character and the story. A tragic curse threatens the outcome of Emma and Brenden’s relationship. With the help of a trustworthy friend, Emma attempts to achieve her goal. Now, dear reader, is where the real magic happens. The story progression from here on out is amazing. There is an element of the past that enters the scene, this tragic curse ruining everything so perfect in Emma’s new life. With warnings from the great beyond, could this end it all? There is so many parallels between the past and the present that are carefully hidden that it is downright clever.

To me, I connected on a different level than I normally would. Sure, I connected with Emma and her longing to be able to love, be loved, and to live a normal life. But when I went back and thought about the story, I connected more with the overall message of being spellbound. When I think of being spellbound, I would automatically think of being in love and not seeing past that great emotion. But when you take a second look, you can associate it with vices like alcohol, the need for knowledge like learning witchcraft, the blinding fear or a family curse, or even be bounded by the need to feel loved and belong.

Schultz does a great job with Spellbound. I suggest this to everyone who loves stories about princes and their fair maidens. Spellbound will for sure put a spell on you.

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