This is book one of the Secret Circle books by L.J. Smith, an author you might know for writing The Vampire Diaries. If you've read my reviews for that series you know that I found the books left something to be desired, so why would I pick up another series by Smith. Simply, I love The Vampire Diaries television show and saw that Kevin Williamson was also making a television version of The Secret Circle.
"Sixteen year old Cassie Blake leaves her home in California to vacation in Massachusetts with her mother. While there she falls in love with a mysterious boy she meets on the beach. As the Summer vacation draws to an end, Cassie's mother decides instead of going home they were going move to the town of New Salem so her mother can care for her own estranged mother.
Shorty after starting high school in her new town, Cassie finds out that an elite group of students, called The Club, are the most popular and powerful students in the school. Leading the group is the beautiful and popular Diana, who takes Cassie under her wing, but not before Cassie is tormented by the equally powerful and popular Faye.
After becoming friends with Diana the other members of the Club start to accept Cassie, eventually asking her to join them, after it is revealed that the members of this Club are witches and that have been ruling New Salem for three-hundred years. Cassie gets initiated into the Circle, and soon discovers that her mystery man is Adam, another member of the coven and Diana's boyfriend."
I can't help comparing The Secret Circle to Smiths other, more popular series, the Vampire Diaries. I have spent many hours reading those books, and comparison is unavoidable. That being said, the main character in the secret circle, Cassie is far more like-able than Elena of the Vampire Diaries, where Elena is the stunningly beautiful queen of the school, Cassie is the shy new girl just looking to get by. I found myself actually caring for Cassie and getting invested in the story.
Ive noticed something about the love story both in this book as well as in the vampire diaries, it almost as if smith isn't giving her intended audience enough credit. The teen-aged "romance" is so rushed, boy meets girl, once for about 10 minutes, barely any conversation occurs. The next time they speak they're confessing their undying love. Really?? I understand the concept of "love at first sight" and all that but it's seeming like Smith thinks teenagers are either incapable of a realistic relationship, or she's incapable of writing one. That being said, I can get past that for a compelling enough story. And this one was just interesting enough for me to forgive the insult to teens everywhere. And really, there are plenty of young adult novels where the falling in love part of the story is rushed. I guess it's part of that "Love at first sight" fairytale we've been deluding girls about for generations, but don't get me started on that.
On a more positive note, unlike The Vampire Diaries, the love story really isn't the focus of the story. It's more about friendship and a young girl adjusting to a new town and new friends and a lineage she didn't know she had. This is all interesting and kept me turning the pages. The characters all seemed to have definite "life" to them.
Bottom Line: It's not perfect. It's a simple, young adult novel, and it's interesting. And I wanted to read the second book after I finished this one. That warrants a B.