Reading level:Young Adult
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books (September 14, 2010)
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound
Avery Hood is reeling from the loss of her parents--and the fact that she can't remember what happened to them even though she was there.She's struggling to adjust to life without them, and to living with her grandmother, when she meets Ben, who isn't like any guy she's ever met before.
It turns out there's a reason why, and Ben's secret may hold the key to Avery finding out what happened to her parents...
But what if that secret changes everything she knows about--and feels for--Ben?
"I was covered in blood when the police found me.
Head to toe: in my hair, on my eyelashes, in the skin between my toes. Dried so deep into my clothes they were taken away and I never saw them again."
"He looked away first, but not before I glimpsed his yes flashing, the color seeming to shift to silver.
And then he stopped. Closed his eyes, breathing like he was in pain, and I swear he rippled for a moment, his whole body shuddering like something was underneath it. Inside it.
"You should go," he whispered, and somehow I managed to stand up, never turning away from him. I'd thought I'd needed him and now—
"I won't hurt you", he said. "I'd never hurt you."
I ran then.
I ran because I was scared.
I ran because I knew that he was scared.
I ran because I didn't know if he was telling the truth, and I because he didn't either." -Page 68
I was intrigued by the premise of Low Red Moon as soon as I watched the trailer and read the synopsis. The setting seemed eerily perfect—small town community, a family living practically "off the grid", superstitious murmurings about creatures in the forest and a dangerous new guy at school. A teenage girl survives a brutal attack on her family but is left with no recollection of what happened. I had to know why she couldn't remember what happened to her parents. But more than that, I wanted to know why she was spared. Enter the new guy. Good looking and more than a little dangerous. All of this combined made me extremely anxious to dive in and solve the mystery.
Unfortunately none of the puzzle pieces ever lined up for me.
In my opinion Low Red Moon would've been a better book without the romance. Yes, that's what I said—without the romance. I'm normally a sucker for a good paranormal romance but this one was way too rushed for my taste. I don't understand this trend in YA—characters lock eyes one time and immediately pledge their eternal devotion to one another. Where's the build up? Where's the "getting-to-know-you" stage? Quite a few times, I even flipped back to make sure I hadn't accidentally missed a couple of chapters.
I also feel very strongly that Low Red Moon would've been a much more impactful, tighter book if we had gotten more time devoted to Avery's life before the murders. I wish the book had a prequel. Or even an extensive flashback sequence would've worked. Something that would've showed the type of person Avery was prior to the attacks. Something that painted a vivid picture of the family dynamics. Something that made me deeply care for them all on a personal level. While Avery does often reflect on what a kind and loving family she had, it didn't really touch my heart.
The best aspect of Low Red Moon was when Avery and her grandmother were rebuilding their relationship. I found their interactions to be compelling. Here was a woman who hadn't been in Avery's life for many, many years and now was thrust in the position of surrogate mother and father. There were so many levels there to sort through and I enjoyed watching their relationship evolve. Her grandmother was a strong character; one with a few secrets of her own. I loved how protective she was of Avery and the distance she went to try and bridge the gap between the two of them. As for Avery herself, I thought she was a bit of an enigma. If my parents had been brutally dismembered and the killer was still at large, I think I'd be a little hesitant to go trampling about the woods late at night by myself. I didn't understand how that thought never even crossed her mind. Many of her choices didn't seem believable to me.
Overall, Low Red Moon was a somewhat shaky start to a series that I believe still has potential. Amazon.com lists Low Red Moon as having 256 pages. My ARC had 196. So I'm hoping the final version will expand on the romance and show the reader how Ben and Avery came to fall in love. I also feel that the ending was strong. With a little tightening up and more time put into character relationships and motivations, this series could be really great. There is nothing lacking in the folklore behind the supernatural presence in the woods. The superstitions regarding the wolves intrigued me immensely. I wanted to learn more about them—tales of wolves taking human brides in exchange for peace treaties.
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