"She realized they were still locking eyes when Daniel flashed her a smile. A jet of warmth shot through her and she had to grip the bench for support. She felt her lips pull up in a smile back at him, but then he raised his hand in the air. And flipped her off."
So, in last week's Book Report, I began the very enjoyable phase of my religious re-education: learning about the temptations of gorgeous fallen angels in "Hush, Hush." The above passage is from lesson two: learning about the temptations of gorgeous fallen angels in reform school, from "Fallen," by Lauren Kate. (Incidentally, this book was optioned by Disney last year, so we're picturing some delicious casting calls soon.)
After Luce's crush Trevor dies in a mysterious fire from which she escaped but can't explain to satisfy the authorities, she's yanked from her posh New Hampshire boarding school and sent to the ominously named Sword & Cross reform school in the swamps of Georgia. There, she's deprived of her cell phone (allowed only one call a week on the school phone) and under the constant surveillance of security cameras. And while she's escaped the cruel eyes of everyone who blames her for Trevor's death, she hasn't escaped the dark, moving shadows that threaten her at the worst times and can't be seen by anyone else.
On the other hand, maybe things are looking up for Luce. She's got two potential new friends in the possibly psycho Arriane and hopelessly nerdy Penn. And charming, green-eyed bad-boy Cam seems very interested in her from day one. But it's Daniel Grigori she can't stop thinking about, even though — or maybe because — he wants nothing to do with her. It's not just his looks; she can't shake the weird feeling that she knows him.
Luce's constant, seemingly inexplicable pursuit of Daniel is almost unbearably embarrassing — she finds herself following him, looking up his records in school files, getting irrationally jealous of other girls in school. But as readers, we can stand it only because we know something Luce doesn't: In the book's prologue, told from his perspective, we witness a passionate kiss between them — only it took place in England in 1854.
Most of the supernatural elements of the story are crammed into the last few chapters of the book, when there's a lot of action and fallen-angel/reincarnation mythology to digest at once. But watching Luce play girl detective (while investigating her own ambiguous feelings), is an enjoyable way to pass the time until the big, explosive reveal. And then there's a cliff-hanger ending that makes the wait until the sequel, "Torment," is out this October as agonizing as its title suggests.
Have you read "Fallen"? Are there other angel novels you recommend? Share your thoughts, and your fantasy casting choices, in the comments below.