Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Teen Read: Spellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz

I have never minded pop culture references in my fiction. Some of them take me back, while others are completely in the moment. I couldn't understand why readers became so annoyed with these popular references. I even quietly assumed they were snobs... Not high brow enough for you? I would like to say to all the reviewers who took a stand against pop culture in fiction, "I'm sorry."

Spellbound had the potential to be a wonderful book. Star-crossed lovers, Emma and Brendan, had fought against a curse for centuries. Each lifetime they found each other only to lose their love and life in a tragic and painful way. I was hoping for a GOOD version of Fallen by Lauren Kate, which also had the potential to be a good book. Unfortunately, both stories did not live up to the potential.

The narrative was going well until about page 60. Then, the author had a nostalgic moment for the mid-1990s. The effect was so strong, I had to recheck the publication date and scour her web site to find out when she started writing this book. The poor choice of popular references took me out of the story. If there was a meaning to these choices, I simply did not "get it."

Spellbound would benefit from a massive editing effort to rid this book of out-of-date references. There are so many wonderful elements to the book that are lost in the text. The characters are rich and interesting. The story is enticing and, at moments, intense. The voice is witty. I'll leave you with my favorite line from the book and you can make the choice to "take it, or leave it."

"She was so cold, she probably farted ice-cubes." -- Emma, Spellbound

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