Beautiful Creatures (Beautiful Creatures Series #1)

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Overview

This edition features exclusive movie cover art and an exclusive foldout poster!

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months ...

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Beautiful Creatures (Beautiful Creatures Series #1)

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Overview

This edition features exclusive movie cover art and an exclusive foldout poster!

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Until Lena Duchannes arrived, Gaitlin was a quiet Southern town with little excitement and fewer mysteries. Lena struggled hard to conceal her power and the taint of the family curse, but not even the swamp mist could hide her secrets. Meanwhile, Ethan Wate, a young man who grew up in Gatlin, knows little about the new arrival, but already he feels under her spell, drawn to her in ways that he cannot understand. This movie tie-in paperback edition features new cover art and an exclusive foldout poster! (P.S. The film, which opens in mid-February, stars Alice Englert, Alden Ehrenreich, Emmy Rossum, Emma Thompson, and Jeremy Irons.) [NO COVER. XXX.]

Children's Literature - Meredith Kiger
In the genre of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, this first effort by two young authors will appeal to teens with interest in the now popular occult revival in movies and television. Set in the rural South Carolina town of Gatlin, the story begin with sixteen-year-old Ethan Gate's adjustment to life after his mother's untimely death and his father's reclusive reaction to it. Amma, the housekeeper who keeps a tight rein on Ethan, is something of a character and believer in the occult. Ethan is a realist, dismissing most of Amma's talk of good and bad luck until a new girl named Lena appears at the high school looking and acting like something of a mystery. It turns out Lena is staying at the local haunted mansion called Ravenswood. When Ethan finally meets Lena, a definite connection is made. It seems he and Lena know each other's thoughts and can "speak" to each other without really speaking. When Ethan decides to make a surprise visit to Ravenswood, he embarks on a journey that takes both he and Lena back and forth between Gatlin's Civil War past and the present. Lena's is one in a family of castors, or commonly known as witches. The ensuing story is a fascinating one that ends up involving most of the town, both past and present. The characterizations are interestingly drawn, providing the glue that overcomes a sometimes weird plot. Although some dealings in the occult occur, the majority of the story focuses on the relationship between Ethan and Lena and the town of Gatlin. Reviewer: Meredith Kiger, Ph.D.
VOYA - Nancy K. Wallace
Everything changes for sixteen-year-old, Ethan Wate when beautiful Lena Duchannes, niece of recluse, Macon Ravenwood, moves into Gatlin. The sudden flurry of excitement that Lena's school enrollment causes is only the beginning. Weird songs repeat in Ethan's head and appear on his iPod; wild dreams suggest he and Lena have lived and died in Gatlin nearly 150 years before. Gatlin lives and breathes history and Lena does not fit in at all with the snobby daughters of the DAR ladies. Shunned at school, Ethan becomes her protector. Lena draws Ethan into the arcane world of "Casters," a clandestine magical culture existing beneath the ordinary life of Gatlin. On the night of the reenactment of the Battle of Honey Hill, Gatlin booms with cannon fire and Lena and Ethan conspire to defeat the dark forces that intend to claim Lena forever on her sixteenth birthday. This book has it all: a creepy setting, a deadly curse, reincarnation, spells, witchcraft and voodoo, plus characters that simply will not let the reader put the book down until finished. Twilight Saga fans will love Ethan and Lena. The "Caster" world is fascinating, from Macon who redecorates his mansion instantly depending on his mood to Lena's cousin Ridley, who appears sweet as candy but can make a man do anything just to please her. Throw in an occult library under the DAR building and witchcraft at the prom and who could ask for more? A sequel? Please! Reviewer: Nancy K. Wallace
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Ethan Wate, a high school sophomore, plans to escape his small Southern town as soon as he can. Life has been difficult since his mother died; his father, a writer, has withdrawn into his study. Then Lena Duchannes arrives, and this strange new girl is the very one who has been occupying his dreams. She and her kin are Casters, beings who have supernatural powers. Getting to know her exposes Ethan to time travel, mortal danger, and love. The teens can hardly bear to be apart, but Lena's 16th birthday, when she will be Claimed for dark or light, is only 6 months away. To save her, they fight supernatural powers and the prejudice of closed-minded people. Yet, good and evil are not clearly delineated, nor are they necessarily at odds. In the Gothic tradition of Anne Rice, the authors evoke a dark, supernatural world in a seemingly simple town obsessed with Civil War reenactments and deeply loyal to its Confederate past. The intensity of Ethan and Lena's need to be together is palpable, the detailed descriptions create a vivid, authentic world, and the allure of this story is the power of love. The satisfying conclusion is sure to lead directly into a sequel. Give this to fans of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight (Little, Brown, 2005) or HBO's "True Blood" series and they will devour all 600-plus pages of this teen Gothic romance.—Amy J. Chow, The Brearley School, New York City
Kirkus Reviews
This smart, textured and romantic Southern Gothic takes place in Gatlin, S.C., where cheerleaders and the basketball team run the high school and the Daughters of the American Revolution and Civil War re-enactors run the town. Ethan Lawson Wate, raised by his authoritative and spiritually inclined housekeeper Amma in the months since his mother's death, can't wait to leave Gatlin's predictable monotony. Then Stonewall Jackson High's first new student in years, headstrong, vulnerable and expressive Lena Duchannes, shows up driving her reclusive uncle's hearse, and Ethan recognizes her from his dreams. Compelled to explore his connection to the new girl, Ethan learns that Lena's family are magic Casters and that Lena's supernatural fate will be chosen for her when she turns 16. Community outrage, emotional tension and Lena and Ethan's doomed search for a way around her uncertain destiny build to a boil in the expansive but tightly plotted march toward Lena's 16th birthday. Ethan's wry narrative voice will resonate with readers of John Green as well as the hordes of supernatural-romance fans looking for the next book to sink their teeth into. (Paranormal romance. 12 & up)
From the Publisher
Praise for Beautiful Creatures:
An Instant New York Times Bestseller
An Indie Next List Selection
A William Morris YA Debut Award Finalist
A NYPL "Book for the Teen Age"

"Gorgeously crafted, atmospheric, and original." - Melissa Marr, NYT bestselling author of Wicked Lovely

"A lush Southern gothic." - Holly Black, NYT bestselling author of Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale

"A hauntingly delicious dark fantasy." - Cassandra Clare, NYT bestselling author of City of Bones

"A potent mix of the gothic, the mythic, and the magical...With original characters, complex world building, and crackling prose, this is masterful storytelling." - Deborah Harkness, #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Discovery of Witches on the Beautiful Creatures novels

"Like a thick, hot Carolina summer, this story seeps into you until it's all you can think about." - Carrie Ryan, NYT bestselling author of The Forest of Hands and Teeth

Praise for Beautiful Creatures:
"This book has it all: a creepy setting, a deadly curse, reincarnation, spells, witchcraft and voodoo, plus characters that simply will not let the reader put the book down until finished...Who could ask for more? A sequel? Please!" - VOYA

"In the Gothic tradition of Anne Rice...Give this to fans of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight or HBO's "True Blood" series." - School Library Journal

"[Readers] will be swept up by the haunting and detailed atmosphere, the conventions and strictures of Southern life, and a compelling and dimensional mythology." - Publishers Weekly

"Smart, textured and romantic." - Kirkus Reviews

Lacy Compton
When the niece of his small town's shut-in enrolls in school, Ethan Wate rejects the idea of ever being friends with her. Lena Duchannes, however, is more than Ethan bargained for—beautiful, different, and unexpectedly powerful. She is a caster—possessing the power to instantly transform her natural surroundings. Ethan discovers a strong attraction to Lena, sharing her dreams, seeing into her mind, and learning a secret about their family histories that connects them. But Lena's time in Gatlin, SC, is short: She has six months until her sixteenth birthday, where she'll learn her fate as a caster—to be dark or to be light, to be evil or to be good, to have Ethan or to lose him forever. The authors weave Southern history and charm with Gothic sensibilities throughout the story. Boasting a strong male narrator, Beautiful Creatures is a fresh, pleasantly enjoyable take on the YA thriller/romance. Reviewer: Lacy Compton
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316231671
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 11/20/2012
  • Series: Beautiful Creatures Series , #1
  • Pages: 592
  • Sales rank: 251,180
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Kami Garcia

Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl live in Los Angeles, California, with their families. They are the authors of Beautiful Creatures, Beautiful Darkness, Beautiful Chaos, and Beautiful Redemption.

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First Chapter

BEAUTIFUL CREATURES


By Kami Garcia Margaret Stohl

LITTLE, BROWN AND COMPANY

Copyright © 2009 Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-316-07128-4


Chapter One

* BEFORE *

The Middle of Nowhere

There were only two kinds of people in our town. "The stupid and the stuck," my father had affectionately classified our neighbors. "The ones who are bound to stay or too dumb to go. Everyone else finds a way out." There was no question which one he was, but I'd never had the courage to ask why. My father was a writer, and we lived in Gatlin, South Carolina, because the Wates always had, since my great-great-great-great-granddad, Ellis Wate, fought and died on the other side of the Santee River during the Civil War.

Only folks down here didn't call it the Civil War. Everyone under the age of sixty called it the War Between the States, while everyone over sixty called it the War of Northern Aggression, as if somehow the North had baited the South into war over a bad bale of cotton. Everyone, that is, except my family. We called it the Civil War.

Just another reason I couldn't wait to get out of here.

Gatlin wasn't like the small towns you saw in the movies, unless it was a movie from about fifty years ago. We were too far from Charleston to have a Starbucks or a McDonald's. All we had was a Dar-ee Keen, since the Gentrys were too cheap to buy all new letters when they bought the Dairy King. The library still had a card catalog, the high school still had chalkboards, and our community pool was Lake Moultrie, warm brown water and all. You could see a movie at the Cineplex about the same time it came out on DVD, but you had to hitch a ride over to Summerville, by the community college. The shops were on Main, the good houses were on River, and everyone else lived south of Route 9, where the pavement disintegrated into chunky concrete stubble-terrible for walking, but perfect for throwing at angry possums, the meanest animals alive. You never saw that in the movies.

Gatlin wasn't a complicated place; Gatlin was Gatlin. The neighbors kept watch from their porches in the unbearable heat, sweltering in plain sight. But there was no point. Nothing ever changed. Tomorrow would be the first day of school, my sophomore year at Stonewall Jackson High, and I already knew everything that was going to happen-where I would sit, who I would talk to, the jokes, the girls, who would park where.

There were no surprises in Gatlin County. We were pretty much the epicenter of the middle of nowhere.

At least, that's what I thought, when I closed my battered copy of Slaughterhouse-Five, clicked off my iPod, and turned out the light on the last night of summer.

Turns out, I couldn't have been more wrong.

There was a curse.

There was a girl.

And in the end, there was a grave.

I never even saw it coming.

Chapter Two

* 9.02 *

Dream On

Falling.

I was free falling, tumbling through the air.

"Ethan!"

She called to me, and just the sound of her voice made my heart race.

"Help me!"

She was falling, too. I stretched out my arm, trying to catch her. I reached out, but all I caught was air. There was no ground beneath my feet, and I was clawing at mud. We touched fingertips and I saw green sparks in the darkness.

Then she slipped through my fingers, and all I could feel was loss.

Lemons and rosemary. I could smell her, even then.

But I couldn't catch her.

And I couldn't live without her.

* * *

I sat up with a jerk, trying to catch my breath.

"Ethan Wate! Wake up! I won't have you bein' late on the first day a school." I could hear Amma's voice calling from downstairs.

My eyes focused on a patch of dim light in the darkness. I could hear the distant drum of the rain against our old plantation shutters. It must be raining. It must be morning. I must be in my room.

My room was hot and damp, from the rain. Why was my window open?

My head was throbbing. I fell back down on the bed, and the dream receded as it always did. I was safe in my room, in our ancient house, in the same creaking mahogany bed where six generations of Wates had probably slept before me, where people didn't fall through black holes made of mud, and nothing ever actually happened.

I stared up at my plaster ceiling, painted the color of the sky to keep the carpenter bees from nesting. What was wrong with me?

I'd been having the dream for months now. Even though I couldn't remember all of it, the part I remembered was always the same. The girl was falling. I was falling. I had to hold on, but I couldn't. If I let go, something terrible would happen to her. But that's the thing. I couldn't let go. I couldn't lose her. It was like I was in love with her, even though I didn't know her. Kind of like love before first sight.

Which seemed crazy because she was just a girl in a dream. I didn't even know what she looked like. I had been having the dream for months, but in all that time I had never seen her face, or I couldn't remember it. All I knew was that I had the same sick feeling inside every time I lost her. She slipped through my fingers, and my stomach dropped right out of me-the way you feel when you're on a roller coaster and the car takes a big drop.

Butterflies in your stomach. That was such a crappy metaphor. More like killer bees.

Maybe I was losing it, or maybe I just needed a shower. My earphones were still around my neck, and when I glanced down at my iPod, I saw a song I didn't recognize.

Sixteen Moons.

What was that? I clicked on it. The melody was haunting. I couldn't place the voice, but I felt like I'd heard it before.

Sixteen moons, sixteen years Sixteen of your deepest fears Sixteen times you dreamed my tears Falling, falling through the years ...

It was moody, creepy-almost hypnotic.

"Ethan Lawson Wate!" I could hear Amma calling up over the music.

I switched it off and sat up in bed, yanking back the covers. My sheets felt like they were full of sand, but I knew better.

It was dirt. And my fingernails were caked with black mud, just like the last time I had the dream.

I crumpled up the sheet, pushing it down in the hamper under yesterday's sweaty practice jersey. I got in the shower and tried to forget about it as I scrubbed my hands, and the last black bits of my dream disappeared down the drain. If I didn't think about it, it wasn't happening. That was my approach to most things the past few months.

But not when it came to her. I couldn't help it. I always thought about her. I kept coming back to that same dream, even though I couldn't explain it. So that was my secret, all there was to tell. I was sixteen years old, I was falling in love with a girl who didn't exist, and I was slowly losing my mind.

No matter how hard I scrubbed, I couldn't get my heart to stop pounding. And over the smell of the Ivory soap and the Stop & Shop shampoo, I could still smell it. Just barely, but I knew it was there.

Lemons and rosemary.

I came downstairs to the reassuring sameness of everything. At the breakfast table, Amma slid the same old blue and white china plate-Dragonware, my mom had called it-of fried eggs, bacon, buttered toast, and grits in front of me. Amma was our housekeeper, more like my grandmother, except she was smarter and more ornery than my real grandmother. Amma had practically raised me, and she felt it was her personal mission to grow me another foot or so, even though I was already 6'2". This morning I was strangely starving, like I hadn't eaten in a week. I shoveled an egg and two pieces of bacon off my plate, feeling better already. I grinned at her with my mouth full.

"Don't hold out on me, Amma. It's the first day of school." She slammed a giant glass of OJ and a bigger one of milk-whole milk, the only kind we drink around here-in front of me.

"We out of chocolate milk?" I drank chocolate milk the way some people drank Coke or coffee. Even in the morning, I was always looking for my next sugar fix.

"A. C. C. L. I. M. A. T. E." Amma had a crossword for everything, the bigger the better, and liked to use them. The way she spelled the words out on you letter by letter, it felt like she was paddling you in the head, every time. "As in, get used to it. And don't you think about settin' one foot out that door till you drink the milk I gave you."

"Yes, ma'am."

"I see you dressed up." I hadn't. I was wearing jeans and a faded T-shirt, like I did most days. They all said different things; today it was Harley Davidson. And the same black Chuck Taylors I'd had going on three years now.

"I thought you were gonna cut that hair." She said it like a scolding, but I recognized it for what it really was: plain old affection.

"When did I say that?"

"Don't you know the eyes are the windows to the soul?"

"Maybe I don't want anyone to have a window into mine."

Amma punished me with another plate of bacon. She was barely five feet tall and probably even older than the Dragonware, though every birthday she insisted she was turning fifty-three. But Amma was anything but a mild-mannered old lady. She was the absolute authority in my house.

"Well, don't think you're goin' out in this weather with wet hair. I don't like how this storm feels. Like somethin' bad's been kicked up into the wind, and there's no stoppin' a day like that. It has a will a its own."

I rolled my eyes. Amma had her own way of thinking about things. When she was in one of these moods, my mom used to call it going dark-religion and superstition all mixed up, like it can only be in the South. When Amma went dark, it was just better to stay out of her way. Just like it was better to leave her charms on the windowsills and the dolls she made in the drawers where she put them.

I scooped up another forkful of egg and finished the breakfast of champions-eggs, freezer jam, and bacon, all smashed into a toast sandwich. As I shoved it into my mouth, I glanced down the hallway out of habit. My dad's study door was already shut. My dad wrote at night and slept on the old sofa in his study all day. It had been like that since my mom died last April. He might as well be a vampire; that's what my Aunt Caroline had said after she stayed with us that spring. I had probably missed my chance to see him until tomorrow. There was no opening that door once it was closed.

I heard a honk from the street. Link. I grabbed my ratty black backpack and ran out the door into the rain. It could have been seven at night as easily as seven in the morning, that's how dark the sky was. The weather had been weird for a few days now.

Link's car, the Beater, was in the street, motor sputtering, music blasting. I'd ridden to school with Link every day since kindergarten, when we became best friends after he gave me half his Twinkie on the bus. I only found out later it had fallen on the floor. Even though we had both gotten our licenses this summer, Link was the one with the car, if you could call it that.

At least the Beater's engine was drowning out the storm.

Amma stood on the porch, her arms crossed disapprovingly. "Don't you play that loud music here, Wesley Jefferson Lincoln. Don't think I won't call your mamma and tell her what you were doin' in the basement all summer when you were nine years old."

Link winced. Not many people called him by his real name, except his mother and Amma. "Yes, ma'am." The screen door slammed. He laughed, spinning his tires on the wet asphalt as we pulled away from the curb. Like we were making a getaway, which was pretty much how he always drove. Except we never got away.

"What did you do in my basement when you were nine years old?"

"What didn't I do in your basement when I was nine years old?" Link turned down the music, which was good, because it was terrible and he was about to ask me how I liked it, like he did every day. The tragedy of his band, Who Shot Lincoln, was that none of them could actually play an instrument or sing. But all he could talk about was playing the drums and moving to New York after graduation and record deals that would probably never happen. And by probably, I mean he was more likely to sink a three-pointer, blindfolded and drunk, from the parking lot of the gym.

Link wasn't about to go to college, but he still had one up on me. He knew what he wanted to do, even if it was a long shot. All I had was a whole shoebox full of college brochures I couldn't show my dad. I didn't care which colleges they were, as long as they were at least a thousand miles from Gatlin.

I didn't want to end up like my dad, living in the same house, in the same small town I'd grown up in, with the same people who had never dreamed their way out of here.

* * *

On either side of us, dripping old Victorians lined the street, almost the same as the day they were built over a hundred years ago. My street was called Cotton Bend because these old houses used to back up to miles and miles of plantation cotton fields. Now they just backed up to Route 9, which was about the only thing that had changed around here.

I grabbed a stale doughnut from the box on the floor of the car. "Did you upload a weird song onto my iPod last night?"

"What song? What do you think a this one?" Link turned up his latest demo track.

"I think it needs work. Like all your other songs." It was the same thing I said every day, more or less.

"Yeah, well, your face will need some work after I give you a good beatin'." It was the same thing he said every day, more or less.

I flipped through my playlist. "The song, I think it was called something like Sixteen Moons."

"Don't know what you're talkin' about." It wasn't there. The song was gone, but I had just listened to it this morning. And I knew I hadn't imagined it because it was still stuck in my head.

"If you wanna hear a song, I'll play you a new one." Link looked down to cue the track.

"Hey, man, keep your eyes on the road."

But he didn't look up, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw a strange car pass in front of us....

For a second, the sounds of the road and the rain and Link dissolved into silence, and it was like everything was moving in slow motion. I couldn't drag my eyes away from the car. It was just a feeling, not anything I could describe. And then it slid past us, turning the other way.

I didn't recognize the car. I had never seen it before. You can't imagine how impossible that is, because I knew every single car in town. There were no tourists this time of year. They wouldn't take the chance during hurricane season.

This car was long and black, like a hearse. Actually, I was pretty sure it was a hearse.

Maybe it was an omen. Maybe this year was going to be worse than I thought.

"Here it is. 'Black Bandanna.' This song's gonna make me a star."

By the time he looked up, the car was gone.

Chapter Three

* 9.02 *

New Girl

Eight streets. That's how far we had to go to get from Cotton Bend to Jackson High. Turns out I could relive my entire life, going up and down eight streets, and eight streets were just enough to put a strange black hearse out of your mind. Maybe that's why I didn't mention it to Link.

We passed the Stop & Shop, otherwise known as the Stop & Steal. It was the only grocery store in town, and the closest thing we had to a 7-Eleven. So every time you were hanging out with your friends out front, you had to hope you weren't going to run into someone's mom shopping for dinner, or worse, Amma.

I noticed the familiar Grand Prix parked out front. "Uh-oh. Fatty's camped out already." He was sitting in the driver's seat, reading The Stars and Stripes.

"Maybe he didn't see us." Link was watching the rearview mirror, tense. "Maybe we're screwed."

Fatty was Stonewall Jackson High School's truant officer, as well as a proud member of the Gatlin police force. His girlfriend, Amanda, worked at the Stop & Steal, and Fatty was parked out front most mornings, waiting for the baked goods to be delivered. Which was pretty inconvenient if you were always late, like Link and me.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from BEAUTIFUL CREATURES by Kami Garcia Margaret Stohl Copyright © 2009 by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl . Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 24, 2013

    Awesome book, awesome series!!!  Could not put the book down

    Awesome book, awesome series!!!  Could not put the book down

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    Posted February 15, 2013

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