First, I'd like to say that I thought that the author did a really good job of adhering to the Ballad of Tam Lin. When she first had me listen to the ballad (which I don't suggest to readers until after you read because then you'll kind of know what happens) I wondered how she would pull some of these things off in a contemporary setting. But she did it!
Second, I love how different this piece is from the author's previous pieces. I've only read her adult stuff before, so it was very different reading her YA work. And honestly, she's even better in YA! The plot was intriguing and logical, the action evenly spaced, the writing style and storytelling were strong -- I expect that it will be even better once the editor gets through with it! Even the things that seemed kind of quirky about (a third first person narrative) it made an organic kind of sense that made the overall story better.
Third, this is a brave book. I give the author kudos for having some of the true-to-life charatcers that she does and for addressing some of the things that she does in here. I can't really say what they are without giving away the plot; however, I will say that I think that more YA pieces need to deal with some of these issues.
Fourth, OMG the characters!
Jeanette, the main female character, is unique and relate-able. Especially for those of us who are geeks. She's a fan of anime and current shows like Doctor Who and Supernatural which makes her seem like someone you could be friends with. I mean, she's a character who knows what Cthulhu is! Can you hate a character like that? NO. On top of that, she's got a lot of depth for a paranormal romance character. She's seen hardship -- her best friend went missing when she was young and her mother has died from cancer. She has some difficulty in school with one of her friends and her position as the principal's daughter. One of the things that I thought was really interesting was how the author made Jeanette's Catholicism a strong aspect of her character without the book seeming like it was all preachy. I've read a couple of pieces from this author so far and I think she does a phenomenal job of exploring different character personalities even though she doesn't necessarily agree with who/what they are.
I also thought the secondary characters was interesting as well. I totally hated Celeste, but I think you're supposed to. At first, I was all, "Why are you friends with this bitch, Jean!" But then I remembered that I had a group of friends kind of like this and I had a frenemy just like Celeste when I was Jean's age too. So, I think that will make Jeanette's school life more real for the younger readers. I love Em. Who wouldn't? I wasn't sure about Amber, but I think she might have become my favorite in the end. I want more about Twyla! I wanted to punch Roxel and was totally happy with her comeuppance in the end. The mushroom woman totally creeped me out. And I might have a crush on Connor -- which is good cause the author tells me there is another book coming with him as the romantic interest! *GET EXCITED*
And finally, there's Tamrin, our hero...Oh lord, I want to do bad things to that man! Or rather, I want him to do bad things to me! He's so experienced, cool, super sexy, and totally the kind of male character I love. Despite that, he's more damaged that Jeanette -- he kind of reminded me of Acheron. I was reading it expecting him to be that bad-boy asshole that "just needs love," but he threw me for a loop. The dynamic between him and Jeanette is very interesting and their relationship is believable from start to finish. His supernatural identity and those of his cohorts is something that will seem familiar to readers but, (now that I'm beta reading other books in the series) the author will throw you for a loop. The truth of the Aos Si is only touched upon in this book, but she puts a very unique spin on some of the supernatural races that we've all come to love, so keep reading more books in this series and the others associated with it!
Overall, I give it five stars for being an amazing and unique retelling of a classic love story. I'm waiting with baited breath for the rest!