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Evernight - Claudia Gray Middling addition to paranormal romance genre, 2.5 stars

In Claudia Gray's EVERNIGHT, Bianca has been uprooted from her life and brought by her parents to the elite Evernight Academy where they will teach. Feeling out of place among the rich and talented students, Bianca finds herself a small group of friends, including Lucas. As things heat up with Lucas, Bianca grapples with the attention (both good and bad) she's receiving from some of the popular students and with Lucas's continued suspicion about her classmates and the school. Both Bianca and Lucas are keeping secrets from each other about their identities, and the truth could tear them apart.

After being impressed with Gray's short story in IMMORTAL: LOVE STORIES WITH BITE, I decided to pick up EVERNIGHT and see how it compared. Regrettably, the full-length book did not have the pull of her short fiction. Told in first-person through Bianca, this point-of-view did not work for the plot twist that is revealed after the first third of the book. The author uses repetitive, simplistic descriptions, like of Bianca's constant blushing or her shyness, to replace character development. Continuity errors regarding times and seasons drew me out of the story, causing me to flip back pages to check what I had just read. The symbolism attempt comes across as clunky and unclear and didn't add to the story at all. Though much of the plot focuses on the romance, I never felt or understood the connection between Lucas and Bianca, especially given how they met. Inexplicably, the romantic foil was made much more appealing and likeable than the romantic lead. The book closes with an obvious set-up for the sequel and not as much as closure as I would have liked.

On the positive side, Gray's writing is easily readable, and her descriptions provide a good sense of place regarding the academy. In the first third of the book, Bianca is a likeable protagonist with realistic flaws. Secondary characters of Bianca's parents, Raquel, and Balthazar are all interesting and likeable as well. When the second plot twist comes, it's interesting enough to keep you reading.

Even with these good points, this book didn't grab me as I had hoped it would. In the sequels, STARGAZER and HOURGLASS, I hope that Gray provides better romantic tension, fewer continuity errors, and more consistent characterization for Bianca.