I very literally bought Pinelight by accident, while looking for free Kindle books on Amazon's website. For some reason, I had one-click ordering turned on and one wayward click purchased the book. It was only 99 cents, but I was a little bummed at first. Now I felt like I had to read it. So I poked around to find out about it.
The beginning takes place in Louisiana, and that caught my interest. Then I clicked through the first couple of pages, and there, before the opening chapter, was a Bible verse, Ephesians 6:12. A YA book with faith-based themes, a battle between good and evil, and, it seemed, adventure. For some reason, after realizing that, it didn't seem like a typical YA paranormal romance (and it's not.) I felt a little more enthusiastic about Pinelight, and finally read it a couple of weeks ago.
Yes. This is a good book.
It starts with the main character, Clara, riding in a truck with her now former friend Erik. Because it begins in the middle of a scene, the conflict between them is slowly revealed, and I liked that. Erik has betrayed Clara's trust by finding and reading her diary. Clara's life is already complicated, because of a missing chunk of memory and the absence of her parents (she lives with her aunt.) She has one friend at school, who I hope to see more of if there are more than three books, and a nemesis in a popular girl who is just plain mean.
When Clara comes home one day to find her aunt missing and Erik prowling the house with another woman, she flees to a family friend who is much more to her than she thought he would be. After their arrival across the pond, Clara stumbles into another world. There's a touch of romance, but with a darker undertone that leads up to the end conflict.
What this Christian-themed novel lacks is exactly what makes it refreshing. Clara has absent parents, but the author doesn't crutch on making the main character a tragic orphan. Also gone is the innocent lamb sacrifice that so frustrated me in several of Ted Dekker's books. There are no perfectly beautiful and always so nice and sweet characters, like Bryan Davis. Clara is gifted, but with a much heavier burden than being nice. She and her family are bound for battle, and that is kept important.
It's not without the romance aspect, but it appears that the series (as I'm gathering from the sequel, Tigerlily) while indulging in the romantic aspect, is more taking the "sacrificial love" path. I like that. Yes, the characters are young. Yes, they are probably in love. But that's not the only part of the book; it's a much more complex story.
Okay, I'll stop gushing now.
Pinelight, by Jillian Perey, was probably the best book I've ever accidentally bought. Okay, yes, it's the only book I've ever accidentally bought, but I really enjoyed it. Highly recommended.