Monday, June 19, 2017

Hearst & Other Body Parts

Author: Ira Bloom
Info: Scholastic Press, copyright 2017, 352 pages

A novel of love and monsters.

Sisters Esme, Katy, and Ronnie are smart, talented, and gorgeous, and better yet . . . all three are witches. They have high school wired until the arrival of two new students. The first is Norman, who is almost eight feet tall and appears to be constructed of bolts and mismatched body parts. Despite his intimidating looks, Esme finds herself strangely -- almost romantically -- drawn to both his oversized brain and oversized heart.

The second new arrival is Zack, an impossibly handsome late transfer from the UK who has the girls at school instantly mesmerized. Soon even sensible Esme has forgotten Norman, and all three sisters are in a flat-out hex war to win Zack. But while the magic is flying, only Norman seems to notice that students who wander off alone with Zack end up with crushed bones and memory loss. Or worse, missing entirely.

~Goodreads Description

After being thoroughly overwhelmed (yet impressed) with all of the contemporary fiction I've read this year, it was really nice diving into a fun fantasy novel that wasn't too heavy or too fluffy.

I'll leave you to read the summary above for this one (it explains things pretty well - I like it when that happens :).  Bloom re-imagines a few of our pop culture lexicon of famous monsters and sticks them in high school which is both hilarious and brilliant.  Esme, Kat, and Ronnie are witches who are also hormonal and catty, a combination that can't get very competitive and dangerous.  Norman, the gentle giant, chooses hope over despair despite the tragedies in his life, and Zack, the mysterious loner dude who is basically allergic to sunlight and all food, is seductive yet compassionate.  This character-driven story places real emotions (sometimes realistically exaggerated) in the hands of teens who are still trying to figure life out.  The fact that they also have supernatural powers just ups the ante.

Despite the "3 gnome" rating (3.5 stars is not an option on Goodreads), I really enjoyed Bloom's voice, and can't wait to see what she comes up with next.  There were moments when the story dragged a bit and felt redundant but was eventually saved by the fun, adventurous plot and entertaining characters.

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