Friday, May 20, 2011

Teen Read: The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell

Baltimore holds more excitement than Amelia van den Broek has ever had in her sheltered life. After both her parents died, Amelia has been in the care of her stoic, proper older brother, August. His only concern is for Amelia to make a good "match."

After only a few social engagements, Amelia suddenly receives a vision from the vespers, or spiritual plane. The beautiful vision entices Amelia to look further, but the further she looks the darker the visions get. What will Amelia predict next when she looks into the future?

Although I do occasionally read historical novels, I was pleasantly surprised to discover a more supernatural element to the story than I was expecting. Fortune telling can go either way being based in fact or leaning toward magic. Amelia never truly discoveres the source of her power, but there is another source of paranormal which I won't disclose. I'll give you a hint, though, "It isn't vampires." Shocking, right?

When we first meet Amelia, she is lost in her drama. She has been mysteriously ruined and August has locked her in the attic. Note: This happens in the first chapter, so it's not a spoiler, End Note. The action of the story takes place the previous summer when Amelia makes her debut into Baltimore society.

Amelia stays with a cousin, Zora, and longs to really belong to the family. She is envious of Zora's relationship with her parents. Saundra Mitchell delves deep into Amelia's emotions and thoughts. My favorite part of the book was actually the writing over the story for once. I didn't have to grind my teeth to get through the book because I wanted to see what happened. Instead, I savored each chapter and dreaded the end. Although Amelia sees the future, the outcomes of her predictions are still surprising.

I would suggest this book for mature readers. The language alone makes it a challenging read compared to most YA novels. The themes are dark, serious and thought provoking. If you could know your future, would you want to see?