Kate, Lauren. Fallen . Delacorte Press: New York, 2009. (452 pages. Trade Cloth $17.99 ISBN: 978-0-385-73893-4)
Grade Level: 7 and up
Annotation: When she begins attending, Sword & Cross boarding school, Luce Price meets a mysterious stranger who seems all too familiar. With the help of her new friend Penn, she digs deeper into Daniel Grigori's past to uncover who he really is.
The cover of Fallen alone is enough to draw you deeper into its mysterious depths. Dressed in a long black gown, standing with her head in her lace-gloved hands, Luce Price is surrounded by a darkly wooded area at nighttime. The ominous aura that surrounds her leads you to crack the spine and enter the world of a troubled girl who is forced to attend the Sword & Cross boarding school by court order during her senior year. A tragic incident with her boyfriend led to this decision - one that Luce, herself, does not clearly remember and understand. She can't see through the shroud of her memory because her thoughts are clouded with confusion.
What she can remember is that shadows have been emerging and following her around since she was a child, and they don't disappear once she enrolls in Sword & Cross...although she likes to keep that fact a secret from anybody she meets. She doesn't need her new classmates thinking she is insane on her very first day.
Once she begins to attend school, she meets several new classmates: Arriane who acts as Luce's crazy, overeager tour guide around school on her first day; Penn (short for Pennyweather), a girl who has full access to student records and engages in a random act of kindness toward Luce after a messy situation in the lunchroom; Cam, the drop-dead gorgeous guy who warmly singles her out as the heart of his attention and affection; and Daniel Grigori - the mysterious boy who gives her the cold shoulder anytime she tries to meet his gaze or engage him in conversation.
The spooky Savannah setting of this story succeeds in its attempt to deliver an eerie and spellbinding backdrop for the unknown as well as the forces of good and evil. Unlike the P.C. Cast House of Night novels, the pacing of this book is slow and the plot does not thicken until about halfway through the book when you begin to get clued in to what is really going on, but if you are willing to linger slowly in suspense and try to unravel the mystery alongside Luce and Penn, then you will be engrossed in reading this alluring story of forbidden love.
P.C. Cast is quoted on the book cover as saying this book is "Sexy and fascinating and scary....I love love love it!" And I agree. I can't wait for the sequel!