I found Evernight through its appearance on several lists (including Best Teen Vampire Fiction and Best Vampire Books) on Goodreads (see http://www.goodreads.com/list/book/2722413.Evernight). I enjoyed the Gothic flavor and decided to include it in my study on the paranormal genre and this database.
Series Title: Evernight
Author: Claudia Gray
ISBN-10: 0061284394 ISBN-13: 9780061284397
City and Publisher: New York: HarperTeen
Copyright Date: 2008
Author’s Website: http://www.claudiagray.com/
Reader’s Annotation: Bianca is a shy girl, used to her small town and the small group of friends she’s known since kindergarten. When she moves to the creepy boarding school Evernight, her parents can’t protect her from finding both love and terrible secrets.
Plot Summary: When Bianca’s schoolteacher parents get a job at Evernight, a boarding school bedecked in gargoyles and mysteriously dying squirrels, she thinks she will never fit in with her beautiful, worldly classmates. Luckily she meets Lucas, who is even more of a misfit than she is. Bianca struggles first to determine his feelings, and then her own. After an incident at the Winter Ball, she begins to actually fit in with the pale, youthful students. Unfortunately Lucas has a secret to match the gravity of her own, and the two must struggle to be together despite everyone around them.
Critical Evaluation: Evernight starts at a slow burn. Nearly half the novel reads like a normal boarding school story; the misfit girl meets and admires the misfit boy, and the reader is lulled into thinking the story is only about the “will it happen?” of their romance. Mystery and evil overshadow each gothic-romance tinted chapter, but it is not until the midpoint of the novel that something supernatural actually happens. Once it does, the book picks up the pace, and begins to incorporate a little humor. The humor gives way to danger and adventure, and the ending is both satisfying and yet leaves the reader wanting more.
Readers who enjoyed Twilight will most likely enjoy Evernight as they share the same elements of romantic danger and a strong male love interest.
Reading Level/Interest Age: 13 and up
Curriculum Ties: Vampires who are hundreds of year old attend Evernight Academy to get back in touch with the modern world. They attend classes on modern technology, learning how iPods and cell phones work. Evernight would be an interesting tie in to students studying technology’s effect on human society and behavior.
Booktalking Ideas: Ask teens how they would describe cell phones to someone from a thousand years ago. Then read the plot summary as written above and tell them they will have to read the book to figure out how the two subjects relate.
Beasties and Supernatural Elements: Vampires
Influences from Other Genres: Historical, Boarding School, Romance
Challenge Issues: At the end of this novel, Bianca runs away from home with Lucas. This might cause consternation for some adults, but the Romeo and Julio effect is tempered by the fact that she possibly plans to return home after spending just a little more time with him. They do spend the night in bed together, but just to sleep.
About the Author: Like many authors, Claudia Gray has worked in a number of careers; her resume includes stints as a disc jockey and a journalist. She has a presence on many social networking sites, including Facebook, Livejournal, and Twitter. (More details at http://www.claudiagray.com/bio.htm)