Swoon: Strangely addictive

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book review YA Nina Malkin SwoonSwoon by Nina Malkin

Some books are like candy. You know they’re not good for you. You feel compelled to keep reading them anyway. Maybe, after a while, they start leaving an “off” taste in your mouth. Still, you keep reading. This is what Nina Malkin’s Swoon was like for me.

The plot is sort of Twilight-meets-Heathers. The protagonist, Dice (everyone has a cheesy nickname, you get used to it after a while), is a misfit in moneyed, WASPy Swoon, Connecticut. Her closest friend is her beautiful cousin Pen. The two girls accidentally bring a ghost from colonial times back into the flesh, and that’s when the trouble starts. Dice is in love with Sin (ghost-boy) and hopes for a relationship with him, but Sin has a vengeful agenda that puts all of Swoon in danger.

The “off” taste in my mouth comes from the way Dice keeps being “in love” with Sin, even after he does some horrible things. Let’s just say he’s not a nice guy. Then again, Dice is not exactly a paragon of kindness and thoughtfulness either. I spent much of the book not liking either character.

Age-appropriateness is a sticky question with Swoon. On the one hand, it’s full of sex and drugs, and includes a suicide, and so a parent might not want their teenager reading Swoon. On the other hand, when I was a teenager, I (and everyone I knew) read adult books all the time, whenever I could get away with it. The only difference is that they weren’t specifically marketed to me. At any rate, this is a book for older teens. I actually find the dysfunctional relationship more disturbing than the sexual content. Most girls know about the birds and the bees long before their late teens, but they don’t necessarily know how to tell a good boyfriend from a bad one.

That said, there’s something about Swoon that kept me reading and never left me bored. Whatever that elusive quality is that makes a book addictive, Swoon has plenty of it.

Swoon — (2009-2011) Young adult (but see Kelly’s caution in her review of Swoon). Publisher: Sin is Coming… Prepare to Swoon! Torn from her native New York City and dumped in the land of cookie-cutter preps, Candice is resigned to accept her posh, dull fate. Nothing ever happens in Swoon, Connecticut… until Dice’s perfect, privileged cousin Penelope nearly dies in a fall from an old tree, and her spirit intertwines with that of a ghost. His name? Sinclair Youngblood Powers. His mission? Revenge. And while Pen is oblivious to the possession, Dice is all too aware of Sin. She’s intensely drawn to him — but not at all crazy about the havoc he’s wreaking. Determined to exorcise the demon, Dice accidentally sets Sin loose, gives him flesh, makes him formidable. Now she must destroy an even more potent — and irresistible — adversary, before the whole town succumbs to Sin’s will. Only trouble is, she’s in love with him.

Nina Malkin SwoonNina Malkin 1. Swoon 2. Swear


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KELLY LASITER, with us since July 2008, is a mild-mannered academic administrative assistant by day, but at night she rules over a private empire of tottering bookshelves. Kelly is most fond of fantasy set in a historical setting (a la Jo Graham) or in a setting that echoes a real historical period (a la George RR Martin and Jacqueline Carey). She also enjoys urban fantasy and its close cousin, paranormal romance, though she believes these subgenres’ recent burst in popularity has resulted in an excess of dreck. She is a sucker for pretty prose (she majored in English, after all) and mythological themes.

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