Winterborne by Augusta Blythe, YA e-book, 300 pages, published in 2011.
Loie and Mia were born on the same day in the middle of a blizzard, and they have been best friends ever since. Both girls have experienced much tragedy in their intertwined lives, and they are more sisters than friends. Now that their seventeenth birthday is on the horizon, their lives are about to become even more complicated. According to Winterborne family myth, each Winterborne will develop powers at seventeen. And if that wasn’t enough, a seriously hot boy has moved in next door, and he is about to turn their lives upside down.
Winterborne is the first book of the Universe Unbound trilogy; a fantasy series for teens, told from Loie’s perspective. It gripped me early on, and I raced through the whole book overnight. I just couldn’t stop turning the pages! It was over too soon, really, and with an end that I had guessed at fairly early on, but that did not dampen any of my pleasure in reading it. I was interested by the powers that Mia was supposed to inherit, by the mystery of her missing father, and Loie’s parents’ accident, but when leprechauns arrived, oh boy, did I get excited! I love reading about mythical creatures, the good and the bad, and Winterborne had plenty. I could really visualise the evil pixie and his minions, and the hellhounds’ breath was rancid, their fear-inducing presence palpable. More books should feature such creatures of the dark!
There was also some teen romance, along with family and friend drama. Parties, boyfriends, frenemies, school, etc, but the bulk of the story revolved around Mia’s impending power surge and the danger that that was placing Mia, Georgia (Mia’s mum) and Loie in.
Mia was a princess, with beauty, money and self-confidence at off-the-chart levels. She overshadowed Loie quite a bit, with Loie acting like Mia’s faithful side-kick. That sort of relationship irks me a little, but Loie didn’t seem to mind too much, she was used to being the off-sider, rather than the main attraction. Despite this relegation to second place, which I think was largely self-imposed, Loie was really smart, pretty and incredibly loyal. While Mia was a little self involved, I still found her to be a likeable character overall, though Loie was my favourite. And Andreas, the gorgeous British neighbour, was right in the thick of things too. Andreas was charming, well mannered, blindingly handsome with a sculpted body, smart and fun; a little too perfect, sure, but so dang likeable I can forgive him his flawlessness.
Winterborne was quite an entertaining fantastical adventure, suitable for upper primary and high school readers.
*I received this book as a digital copy from the author, who asked me for an honest review of this book. I did not receive any other remuneration, and the review is composed entirely of my own opinions.