[April 7, 2015]
ARC via publisher
Life is almost back to normal for Harper Price. The Ephors have been silent after their deadly attack at Cotillion months ago, and best friend Bee has returned after a mysterious disappearance. Now Harper can return her focus to the important things in life: school, canoodling with David, her nemesis-turned-ward-slash-boyfie, and even competing in the Miss Pine Grove pageant.Oh, Rachel Hawkins. The magic you keep putting into my hands.
Unfortunately, supernatural chores are never done. The Ephors have decided they’d rather train David than kill him. The catch: Harper has to come along for the ride, but she can’t stay David’s Paladin unless she undergoes an ancient trial that will either kill her . . . or connect her to David for life.
I adore Harper so much because she's so very much true to herself and her roots and what she wants in life always. Even after life throws this hook in that book 2 shows, she still remains true to her utterly glamorous and fashionable self. And she still manages to have this really amazing character development arc through each book and I love watching her grow and I just love her so much and want her to build my wardrobe and show me how to use stilettos most effectively.
Hawkins also looks at romantic relationships so honestly. It's not all easy and there are real concerns and what the hell will you do in the future? These are things that have to be considered at some point in a relationship and teenagers can think about these things. There's also an acknowledgement of the importance timing and life situations can play and that not every break up has to be a bad one. Sometimes it's just the right choice.
I also love the voice Hawkins puts in her books. It's so distinct and so her, but still unique to her characters. She's found that difficult to balance sweet spot of authorial voice and character voice and it shines through in this series. It pairs with her general talent for creating these amazing stories where you can never predict what's next, these concepts that aren't super common in YA, and this general epic writing talent and it combines to create one of my favorite writers of all time.
What I'm saying is, Rachel Hawkins is perfect and this sequel is perfect and you need to read them ASAP. Pick up Rebel Belle if you haven't read it or just go ahead and order this one to arrive pronto. It's such a great piece of YA, especially if you're a feminist.