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Blackwood - Gwenda Bond I don’t know why I’ve waited so long to read this. I got it a few months back and it has just been sitting in my ereader waiting to be read. Then I saw that the release date was next week and figured I should go ahead a read it so my review could be out just a little early. I wish I hadn’t waited so long. This book was amazing. The story idea is completely unique and it doesn’t have one of those needy heroines who have to be saved. For the most part, she saves herself.

This story follows Miranda Blackwood through the strange events that happen in modern day Roanoke Island NC. She is the town freak and her dad is the town drunk. Then something strange happens, 114 people disappear which is the same number of people who vanished from the original settlement.

And things just get weirder from there, especially when Phillips Rawling shows up back in town. He is the town bad boy who really isn’t bad. He just did all those bad things to get sent away from the island because when he is there he hears the voices of the spirits in his head. As you can see, this already has the set up to be just plain weird. And weird it is.

I actually live in NC and since there aren’t many novels that take place here (well except for a handful of Nicholas Sparks books that I don’t count), I was excited to see something set near me. I also have always been fascinated by the Roanoke disappearance. Over a hundred people randomly vanishing with no trace? How can that not peak your interest? So it really drew me in from the very beginning.

I must say that this is what I am looking for every time I pick up a YA paranormal novel. It has one of the more original stories I’ve read in a while and the characters were wildly different than the typical YA heroes/heroines are today. Miranda is not whiny, she is just trying to make the best out of a bad situation. And then when things go south, she tries to save everyone, despite the fact that they have always been mean to her. Phillips is a bad guy with heart, if that makes any sense. The only reason he started acting out was to get away from this place and yet here he is, back in town when they need him, when she needs him. Their past is a little complicated but when he shows up at her door, she isn’t thrilled to see him and actually ends up accidentally shooting him with a magic gun…he isn’t injured. No insta-love to be found within these humble pages. In fact, even in the end, they don’t profess their love to each other which I found quite refreshing.

I also loved Miranda for her protectiveness towards her dog, Sidekick. I’ve read too many novels where characters “love” their pets but end up abandoning them when things get hard or complicated. During this whole novel, if Kicks isn’t with Miranda then she is constantly trying to get back to him. In fact, there is one point during the end of the novel that I thought I was going to have to give it bad reviews because I thought the dog had died. Is it dumb to downrate a book just because one of the characters dies? Probably, but I hate the trend of killing off characters and it would have angered me greatly. But we’re saved because he is fine.

This gist of this slightly rant-y, rave-y review is this book is awesome and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys paranormal YA (especially those looking for something outside the topics that have been drove into the ground like vampires, werewolves, and angels.)

****Thank you to Angry Robot for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****