Shadow Hills

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Shadow Hills

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A familiar combination of romance, destiny, and the paranormal, Hopcus's first novel is unexceptional in terms of plot and technique, but carries a strong narrative momentum that should appeal to readers. The narrator is Persephone "Phe" Archer, a wealthy 15-year-old from Los Angeles, who has convinced her parents to send her to Devenish Prep in Shadow Hills, Mass., after the death of her older sister, Athena. Phe is plagued with nightmares that seem to direct her to Shadow Hills, and she knows from her sister's diary that Athena had the same nightmares. From the moment she arrives on campus, Phe is enmeshed in mysteries (why is she developing a strange, symmetrical mark on her hip? why do some of the locals seem to have superpowers?), revelations, and the attentions of a handsome townie named Zach, who has no shortage of mysteries of his own. Epidemics, genetics, and witchcraft intertwine as the stakes ratchet implausibly but thrillingly higher; loose ends at the conclusion may prime the way for sequels. Ages 12-up. (July)
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Hopcus provides another title in what seems to be a never-ending slew of supernatural romances. Persephone Archer, a California native, enrolls at exclusive Devenish Prep in Shadow Hills, MA. The school was the topic of her deceased sister's final diary entry, and Phe is determined to find out why. She snoops around the school and learns the creepy and mysterious history of Shadow Hill and its natives. Phe is also having dreams that include several of the locals, some living and others dead. One of them is Zach, to whom she is instantly drawn despite his strange demeanor. Gradually, Phe learns the truth behind his inexplicable talents. She also discovers that she has powers of her own, foreshadowed by a mark that showed up on her hip shortly after arriving at Devenish. Hopcus creates a dark and believable setting as she slowly reveals the mystery behind this seemingly charming town. She also brings to life a large cast that includes Zach's standoffish sister and their Uncle Tripp. Even characters with minimal roles are fleshed out via Hopcus's rich use of language. The love scenes feel a bit forced but that will not stop readers from getting caught up in the mystery and romance. It will be especially popular with those who prefer their supernatural romances with more sweetness and fewer sexual themes.—Shari Fesko, Southfield Public Library, MI
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781606842157
  • Publisher: EgmontUSA
  • Publication date: 5/10/2011
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 1,360,665
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: HL720L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.19 (w) x 8.17 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Meet the Author

Anastasia Hopcus wrote her first book in the 2nd grade.  It was titled Frederick the Friendly French Ferret and was seven pages long. During high school she wrote numerous short stories and started (but never finished) three screenplays, all as an alternative to doing actual schoolwork. At the very wise age of twelve her career ambition was to drive a Mack truck, but when that didn't pan out, she tried acting, bartending, and being a receptionist in a dojo before finally returning to writing. Anastasia loves horror movies, Joss Whedon, obsessing over music, and British accents.  She lives in Austin, Texas, and Shadow Hills is her debut novel. You can visit Anastasia at her website
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 96 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 97 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2010

    Shadow Hills = Great Mystery!

    Shadow Hills is a town shrouded in mystery, where Phe begins her journey as a student at Devenish Preparatory School. There she tries to understand her dead sister's involvement with a town she never visited along with her own uncanny visions of a past Shadow Hills. Phe realizes nearly immediately that not only the town, but the people from Shadow Hills are hiding a secret. This is one of the best things I love about this novel. Phe is not clueless. She doesn't see the townies attract metal and think she is delusional or try to rationalize it as seen in so many YA novels. She instead stops, and with her curious nature, tends to delve straight into any danger as she puzzles out what is wrong in Shadow Hills, along with a case of whodunit when she stumbles upon a murdered townie. Phe even realizes something is not quite right with her, especially as her visions start coming true, and a mysterious shape starts to appear on her body.

    Shadow Hills has everything from action and adventure to romance not to mention a group of friends Phe finds that will stick by her side. It turned out to be a great novel, and I can't wait to find what else Phe discovers about Shadow Hills and her own abilities.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 27, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I expected more from the story

    I felt like the characters weren't very well developed and the storyline could have been a little in depth. I feel like I would have liked to have known a little more about the town's past and also the twins' past. We didn't get to learn enough about the rest of the book in the book, which really disappointed me.
    I really expected more.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 18, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Synopsis...since there is not one listed yet!

    Since her sister's mysterious death, Persephone "Phe" Archer has been plagued by a series of disturbing dreams. Determined to find out what happened to her sister, Phe enrolls at Devenish Prep in Shadow Hills, Massachusetts-the subject of her sister's final diary entry.

    After stepping on campus, Phe immediately realizes that there's something different about this place-an unexplained epidemic that decimated the town in the 1700s, an ancient and creepy cemetery, and gorgeous boy Zach-and somehow she's connected to it all.

    But the more questions she asks and the deeper she digs, the more entangled Phe becomes in the haunting past of Shadow Hills. Finding what links her to this town.might cost her her life.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2013

    I really enjoyed this book and can't wait for another one to com

    I really enjoyed this book and can't wait for another one to com out

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2012

    Shadow Hills

    I have read this book probably a million times since I met the beautiful Anastasia Hopcus and her longtime friend Jessica. I absolutely love this book and I fell in love with Phe, Zach, Graham, and everyone else! I can't wait to read anything else that she has in store:)

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  • Posted June 14, 2012

    Surpriseingly good

    I heard about this book through someone on Youtube and decided to check it out for my self, and it was surprising. I enjoyed the plot and the characters as well.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2012


    The title says it all

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2012

    love it! This book is great! I could'nt put it down. Go Buy It!

    love it! This book is great! I could'nt put it down. Go Buy It!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2011

    Could not put it down!


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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011


    Has so many exciting parts!!!!

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  • Posted July 11, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Intriguing Read

    4.5 Stars

    Shadow Hills is a stunning debut from author Anastasia Hopcus. Do not be fooled into thinking that this is some ordinary paranormal romance. For one thing there are no vampires or werewolves in sight. Instead, Hopcus has create her own new world in Shadow Hills, Massachusetts, where the townies have a dark secret.

    Filled with mystery, romance, mythology and suspense, Shadow Hills is a captivating book that will drag you into the plot and not let you go until the last page. Phe comes to Shadow Hill to see why her sister, who died, was interested in Devenish. Phe ends up learning a lot more then she bargained for when coming to Shadow Hills. While there are overlapping story lines, Hopcus writing is so clear that all the story lines fit and easily blend together without leaving the reader confused.

    Shadow Hills was such a page turner. The plot was so rich in mystery and suspense I just had to keep reading to figure out all the mysteries of Shadow Hills as Phe was figuring them out. The ending of the book nicely tied up many of my questions, but still left me wanting more. I want to learn more about these characters introduced to us by Hopcus. I want to know more about Phe and the powers she has and I would love to see more of Zach and learn about the Brevis Vita more. When I reached the last page, I wanted more because I was intrigued by the story and the world Hopcus had created. Shadow Hills is a fantastic and unique debut. I am looking forward to reading whatever she writes next.

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  • Posted June 29, 2011

    I Also Recommend:


    This book was one of the best I've read in awhile. I had just finished Torment by Lauren Kate and I need a space filler until Passion came out and I picked this book. At first I wasn't sure if I would really like but I instantly fell in love with it! The romance, mystery, all of it was captivating. My only complaint is that it needs a few 100 more pages or a 2 book. I hear she may or may not write a second and I really hope she does because I have many unanswered questions left! But over all, RECOMMENDED! :)

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  • Posted March 22, 2011

    the BEST

    this book is so good i couldnt put it down usually books will have som boring dull parts you want to rush through but th entire time i read this book there was not one boring part in the entire book that i wanted to skip it really aught my attention right away i would deffinitly recommend

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  • Posted March 20, 2011


    this book was a lot better than i expected! i love the setting and characters the only bad thing was thhe constant referencing to the music.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2011


    This book is amazing!! I could not put it down!!!

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  • Posted January 26, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great Mystery With Fun Characters

    3.5 because of the mystery

    Shadow Hills has a new take on paranormal romance and I loved that. Anastasia Hopcus really builds up the history of the town and Devenish Prep, Phe's new school. The mystery behind the town and its inhabitants is really well-written; it draws the reader in without giving too much away, so I was curious to see exactly where it was going.

    The paranormal aspect of Phe's weird dreams, that she sometimes shares with the gorgeous and mysterious Zach, kept me glued to the page. All the strange powers and gifts that the townies, Zach included, possess made me need to know exactly what was going to happen.

    As a character, Phe is pretty much amazing. She's witty and funny, but also strong. She's willing to stand up for herself and others. Phe's snooping reminded me of Veronica Mars and it made for a fun mystery/detective story.

    The one thing that I really didn't like (and most probably won't agree here) is the romance. I love me a good romance story, I really do. But I am so over two people meeting, instantly having that connection, and falling in love in 0.2 seconds. I want to see more buildup and the romance between Phe and Zach lacks that.

    They meet, have some tense 'I know there's something strange about you' conversations, then all of a sudden, Zach throws caution to the wind to break all the rules because he loves Phe and cannot be without her. And clearly, Phe feels exactly the same way. Life would be so much worse if she could not be with this guy she met only a few weeks ago.

    Sorry, my rant is over now. But, the romance has its moments. There's plenty of tension filled scenes that lead to steamy kisses for people to enjoy. And if the romance isn't your thing, the mystery about Shadow Hills is still there figure out. Not to mention, Hopcus does an exceptional job making the secondary characters interesting and enjoyable to read.

    Shadow Hills wasn't quite what I imagined, but the paranormal, and almost magical (witchy magical) aspects kept me reading. I was just as eager as Phe to figure out exactly who or what the townies were, and why her dreams were so vivid and seemed to all come back to her dead sister. Hopcus does mystery very well and I have a feeling that almost anyone who loves paranormal romance will probably enjoy this one.

    Opening line: I had thought nothing could be worse than what they had already done to me, but I was wrong. ~ pg. 1

    Favorite lines: "Exactly. Life isn't a series of steps you take to get somewhere. It's everything that happens in between. Or, you know, something like that, but more eloquent and less clichéd." ~ pg. 32

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  • Posted January 15, 2011

    Exceeded my expectations

    This is the very first book i purchased on my nook. I read the reviews of many books before finally deciding to purhase one. I have to admit I was very impressed. The whole time I thought I knew who was after Phe but several times the story took a twist making me think it was another person. The author wrote about a unpopular topic which i enjoyed. It kept me wanting to read more and more with every turn of a page. I highly recommend to anyone who is interested in the paranormal served with a side of thrill and romance.

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  • Posted October 23, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A sonnet review, from All-Consuming Books

    "Persephone, or "Phe" as she prefers,
    has moved from L.A. out to Shadow Hills
    based on some deep, disturbing dreams--hers
    and her dead sister's--of the place. The chills
    keep coming as Phe learns that everyone
    in town dies young or goes senile before
    their time, the kids are geniuses, and one
    amazing guy named Zach is clearly more
    than what he seems. And what about the strange
    new marks appearing on her hip? The dreams
    about a graveyard? It's too late to change
    her sister's fate, but now it finally seems
    that Phe will find the answers that she seeks.
    This book is: Spooky, and utterly unique."

    I'm a big fan of boarding school settings. There's something about having people locked in a limited space and forced to interact daily that can really make a story dynamic, and it certainly works for Shadow Hills. In addition to the thrilling scenes while she's figuring out the mystery of the town, Phe's regular scenes with the other students are entertaining and full of snappy dialogue. Every paranormal novel needs its everyday human elements to function well in order for the supernatural side to be worthwhile, and I really liked Phe's preppy friends Graham, Toy, and Adrianna--they were a welcome calm in between storms.

    Zach was also a likable character. Paranormal YA is populated with dangerous, brooding guys, but though Zach has superhuman abilities, he's not one for angst--he's described as sweet and I agree with that assessment. When we're first introduced to him, his powers are apparent when he picks up Phe's dead iPod and it starts charging just from contact with his hand, but he's not just a collection of weird powers; he's down to earth and it made me smile when he made a Mary Poppins reference. He's good to Phe and nice to everybody else, including his stone-cold older sister Corinne, who warns them to stay away from each other because the social lines are drawn--boarders at Devenish Prep don't mix with townies from Shadow Hills. Ever.

    The issues I had with the book were mild. I liked Phe okay, but I wasn't really invested in what happened to her, specifically. She's a bone deep music snob and mentions about 15 non-mainstream artists (she and Graham briefly discuss how they're both into "early ska revival"), a detail that should really appeal to readers who are seriously into music and like eclectic hard-to-find bands, but I just kept having these moments where I'd go, "Oh, she mentioned The Clash! I know who they are!" There's also the traditionally short time frame on her relationship with Zach--after they've known each other for two weeks, they're talking about their couplehood like it's a permanent thing. They do share dreams and they have compatible energies, but still.

    Must say I loved the mystery, which gets wonderfully perplexing. I've never read a paranormal premise anything like it, and it was great to feel surprised again as a reader of supernatural fiction.

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  • Posted August 27, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus Review

    This book reminded me why I love a good mystery so much. Add in the great romance Anastasia Hopus has blooming between Phe and Zach and you've got me as a big fan without a doubt. From start to finish Hopcus builds the mystery that hangs over the small town of Shadow Hills. Clues are given out and revelations are made at just the right times but I was just as much in the dark as the characters were. It was perfect, I wasn't predicting the end by page one but instead enjoying the complexity that Hopcus created. There are clear "good" guys and clear bad guys but it was the floaters that surprised me and kept me second guessing myself from the beginning to the very end.

    After Phe's older sister Athena dies, she wants answers and doesn't want to wait around for them to come to her, or to never materialize at all. She was such a fun character to watch in action. She was brave and gutsy (yes I just used the word gutsy) and went after what she wanted, no holds barred. The mysterious Zach (a local native of Shadow Hills) has secrets and plays hard to get but that just makes you like him all the more.

    With her new boarding school friends (and who doesn't love a boarding school backdrop?) Phe sets out to solve the puzzle of her new home town and figure out how her and her sister fit in with the whole thing. Readers will love the mystery, romance and of course the suspense, and will want more where that came from. Hopcus says on her blog that she can't confirm a sequel but that she is working on book two. Let's just hope that she can confirm and release that book very soon!

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  • Posted August 25, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Ashley B for

    Persephone "Phe" Archer feels as though she doesn't belong in L.A. any more since her sister's death. She leaves the city to go to Devenish Prep, a boarding school in Shadow Hills, Massachusetts. Her sister, Athena, had written of this place in her last diary entry, and Phe is determined to figure out why.

    As Phe snoops around the school and the town, she continues to have dreams about the town and people within, both dead and alive. But the townspeople are odd. Every single one of them. And they might be after her.

    This novel's synopsis makes the story sound mysterious and romantic, though it was kind of misleading. The chapters moved at a slow and steady pace, and didn't really pick up until the ending. The characters could have been more developed, and the relationship between Phe and Zach, as well. Overall though, a good read that wasn't as great as I had expected.

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