Blythewood by Carol Goodman

Blythewood by Carol Goodman
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Genre:Action/Adventure, Historical, Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery
Length: full length (496 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Rating: 3.5
Review by: Lupine

Blythewood (Blythewood, #1)
At seventeen, Avaline Hall has already buried her mother, survived a horrific factory fire, and escaped from an insane asylum. Now she’s on her way to Blythewood Academy, the elite boarding school in New York’s mist-shrouded Hudson Valley that her mother attended—and was expelled from. Though she’s afraid her high society classmates won’t accept a factory girl in their midst, Ava is desperate to unravel her family’s murky past, discover the identity of the father she’s never known, and perhaps finally understand her mother’s abrupt suicide. She’s also on the hunt for the identity of the mysterious boy who rescued her from the fire. And she suspects the answers she seeks lie at Blythewood.

But nothing could have prepared her for the dark secret of what Blythewood is, and what its students are being trained to do. Haunted by dreams of a winged boy and pursued by visions of a sinister man who breathes smoke, Ava isn’t sure if she’s losing her mind or getting closer to the truth. And the more rigorously Ava digs into the past, the more dangerous her present becomes.

Vivid and atmospheric, full of mystery and magic, this romantic page-turner by bestselling author Carol Goodman tells the story of a world on the brink of change and the girl who is the catalyst for it all.

Blythewood was a multiple attempted read for me, and after about the seventh time I picked it up I managed to read through the whole thing. The struggle for me was the slow start to the story, which was very interesting but not executed well in the beginning. The first ten or so chapters dragged quite a bit for me and that’s about when I decided to stop reading every time I picked it up.

Ava struck me as a normal character. There was nothing special about her. Aside from being in love with a darkling and hearing these bells in her head, she was your a-typical heroine. I admire her more than most because she didn’t let much get in her way or stop her.

Raven, on the other hand, I liked very much. He was probably my favorite character because he wasn’t stereotypical. He wasn’t overbearing or protective.  He and Ava butted heads occasionally, which I saw as healthy since no relationship is perfect. They had differences and didn’t always get along or agree on everything, yet there was that mutual attraction between them.

The other girls who attended Blythewood were your average, everyday mean girls, but at least a couple of these girls actually grew and changed. The mean girl leader and her two sidekicks stuck together but the other two made friends with Ava and there began their awkward friendship. I really appreciated the friendship bonds between the girls in the book, even though they fought and were so much different.

The ending was stupendous, considering the weak beginning to the book, and made it worth it for me to struggle through the slow beginning.  Now I can’t wait to read book two!

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