Masterful storytelling. Darkness Becomes Her is set in sinister and creepy moss-covered and overgrown New Orleans, now named New 2, after a series of wrenching hurricanes destroyed it. Nine families whose ancestors first settled New Orleans band together and form the Novem, the only law recognized beyond the Rim.
When seventeen-year old Ali Selkirk goes in search of her birth mother and answers to why she was given up as a ward to the state of Louisiana, she finds dark secrets about her mother's life...and death. Returning to her hotel, Ali opens a box of things left behind by her mother thirteen years ago. There is a letter for Ali... and it's frightening. The letter warns Ali "Please, baby girl, just run..." --to leave New Orleans and those who are looking for her.
Ali wants to follow directions and means well, but after killing a strange Greek warrior who vanishes before her eyes, she wants answers: Who was the creepy Greek guy and why does he want her dead? Why does she need to run? Where is her real father? Did her mother really commit suicide, or was there something more sinister going on?
On a whim, Ali catches a ride beyond the Rim and into New 2. And that's when strange things really start to happen! Macabre characters inhabit New 2 and dark secrets boil over. Joining a band of misfits, Ali begins untangling the mysteries and getting answers.
This dynamic page-turner will appeal to fans of paranormal and adventure--fans of Twilight and The Lightning Thief will like this read.
The line "Run, baby girl" gave me actual goosebumps at the end of Chapter One. I was hooked.
Highly recommended grade 9-up. This novel should be okay for some grade 8 readers--it is as tame as The Hunger Games. 273 pages
Recommended by Pamela Thompson, MLIS
Library Media Specialist
visit my ya novels blog at http://booksbypamelathompson.blogspot.com/
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When Ari goes searching for information about the mother who abandoned her as a baby, the last thing she expects is an insane asylum, a suicide report, and a letter telling her to run. But when a man speaking a strange language comes after her with a sword, Ari begins to think that maybe her mother wasn’t so crazy after all. Her search for answers leads her to New 2, a New Orleans devastated by hurricanes and no longer a part of the United States, but also a place where Ari feels strangely at home. In this half-abandoned city filled with strange happenings and stranger people, Ari will learn the truth about her family and become part of a centuries-old struggle against an unjust deity. But will anyone stand with her once they learn her secret? This dystopian urban fantasy will appeal to lovers of the Percy Jackson series and the Twilight series who are ready for something a little deeper and more mature.
Recommended by Sarah Loch, Librarian
Ari Selkirk has been on her own for much of her 17 years. Given up in infancy by her mother, Ari has lived with one foster care parent after another. The current set, Casey and Butch, care for her and worry about her. They have taught her much about the family trade: bail bondsmen. As a result, Ari can take care of herself: wield a gun, drop a two hundred pound aggressor. All of these skills become useful as she investigates the mysteries of her parents and a family curse.
Ari discovers a box of her mother’s things after visiting Rocquemore House, where her mother had been institutionalized for delusions of snakes living under her scalp. Before giving Ari up and committing suicide, Ari’s mom left her the box of items including a letter addressed to Ari. The message: RUN! Following the discovery of the box, Ari is attacked in her hotel parking lot by a tall, blonde supernaturally fast stranger. When Ari stabs him, defending herself with his own mysterious blade, he hovers off the ground, turns to smoke and disappears. The attack, the box, and the family curse that kills its women at 21 propel Ari to New 2. This new manifestation of New Orleans is a haven for outsiders, misfits and the supernatural.
Forsaken by the USA after it was devastated by hurricane, New Orleans was purchased by nine wealthy families now known as the Novem. Drawn to New 2 for possible information about her father, Ari meets a house full of young people like herself who have supernatural powers. Among them is the mysterious, dangerous, alluring Sebastian. Ari has lived her whole life with the unusual. Her eyes are an extraordinary color of teal. Her hair is the color of moonlight and waist long, no matter her efforts to change it. But what she finds in New 2 is beyond any of her imagining.
Sprinkled with mature language and including an intense assault sequence, Darkness Becomes Her is for mature readers. It is a wild thrill ride of a book. Ari is an intensely powerful protagonist who struggles with some mean bad stuff in a situation full of the supernatural, voodoo, witches, vampires, and elements of Greek Mythology brought to life. Readers who enjoy the supernatural, connections to mythology and tough, strong, powerful heroines will find much to enjoy.
Recommended by Alison Cucchetti, Teacher-Librarian, Ohio
Ages 14 and up