Anjaline Rodriguez, born and raised in Quito Ecuador, is ripped at the age of 14 from all she holds dear by her anthropologist stepfather who takes her and her mother to live in Hope Valley, a remote settlement in British Columbia, Canada. She is an exotic flower from a sun-drenched country dropped into an alien land of cold and snow, and a small village of strangers including—as you would expect in a YA romance novel—several very attractive young males. Angeline experiences all the tortuous angst that every young teen alive has ever felt when she gives her heart to one of them.
McGuire has a way of description that I like very much. Sparse but evocative. Few words paint the picture. Quito comes to life and you feel the bone-chilling cold of Hope Valley.
She develops her principal characters nicely. There’s rather a lot about the physical attractions of the two mains but I guess that’s what teenagers tend to focus on, so it follows that any story involving them is also going to focus on that aspect.
The ‘does he/she like/not like me’ begins early and continues for a major part of the book, but then that’s part of the conflict so resolving it too soon would have been awkward.
McGuire has a nice writing style, it flows easily and for the most part without padding. I was less impressed with the amount of angst. Do teenagers really agonise quite SO much. Still, it’s a few—quite a few—years since I’ve been one, so I’ve probably forgotten.
McGuire steers strictly away from anything controversial in the relationship area, keeping the book a safe but I imagine heart-stopping read for her intended audience of young adults, girls particularly. The closest she gets to the subject of sex (a word that is not used) is ‘His hormones were raging’ followed by a kiss.
Chapters 1 to 10 are told totally from Anjaline’s point of view, after that multiple points of view take over but stay principally with Anjaline and her love interest.
The book has everything: love, torment, happiness, tragedy and hope.
(reviewed 33 days after purchase)