Title: After Midnight: Youngbloods #1
Author: Lynn Viehl
May Contain Spoilers
Sophomore Catlyn Youngblood is used to the nomadic existence she and her two older brothers have shared since the death of their parents. When they settle down for good in the sleepy backwoods town of Lost Lake, Florida, Cat thinks they might finally fit in. Instead, they’re shunned by the locals.
While riding her horse late one night, Cat meets an enigmatic and handsome boy named Jesse Raven. Even more strange than her overpowering attraction to him is Jesse’s apparent aversion to the sun. As their attraction intensifies, long-kept secrets come to light. Cat learns that the Ravens are a centuries-old vampire clan . . . and worse still, that she and her brothers are descendents of Abraham Van Helsing, the world-famous vampire hunter. Mortal enemies by blood, the two families do all they can to keep them apart. But Cat and Jesse will risk everything to be together—including death.
I was disappointed with After Midnight, and I don’t think I would have been if I hadn’t read the blurb on the back. The plot synopsis gives much of the story away, eliminating any sense of suspense that I might have experienced while reading. One of the most irritating aspects about this is that I usually don’t even bother to read the back of the book – I just get a general idea of what the book is about from surfing around the internet, and then I just go with the flow. I did read the back of this one, though, and it reminded me of why I shouldn’t read them – there are spoilers in it and it did taint my reading experience.
Catlyn and her brothers live the life of nomads, never staying in one place long enough to put down any roots. When her older brother Trick announces that they are moving again, permanently, to Lost Lake, Florida, Cat isn’t sure whether or not to believe him. She wants to have roots and a sense of being somewhere she belongs, but she has been forced to move so many times that she doesn’t think that is possible. Her first day at school earns her the unwanted attention of both bully Aaron and his girlfriend Tiffany, the most popular girl in school, and suddenly she isn’t sure that she wants to stay in one place for very long. How is she going to fit in after making enemies of two of the most popular kids at school?
I enjoyed the setting and the family dynamics here, and they kept me reading. The plot felt very disjointed though, with Cat’s “day” life and her “night” life not meshing together well. After a forbidden nighttime ride around their new property, Cat meets Jesse, a mysterious boy who lives in a secluded mansion on the island in the middle of a lake. Jesse is homeschooled, and he has a condition that doesn’t allow him to be outside during the day. Sunlight burns his skin, so the night is his domain. Cat and Jesse are drawn to each other, and even though she fights her attraction to him, Cat is captivated by him. She dreams about him, and she doesn’t feel complete unless they are together.
I enjoyed the chemistry between Cat and Jesse. They truly seemed to be meant for each other, and I liked the sections of the book that focused on them the best. Her brothers’ interference added another layer to the complicated relationships between all of the characters. Trick is especially manipulative and controlling, and when Cat rebels against his rules, he doesn’t take her sudden quest for independence well. Cat really is a good kid, and she is torn over disobeying her brother. He has sacrificed a lot to care for her and Gray, and it just seems wrong to ignore his demands. However, as he limits her freedom more and more, she begins to wonder what is really going on with Trick, Jesse, and the mysterious trunk in the hayloft.
I thought the pacing felt off, and the ending was a mashup of a head spinning amount of YA tropes. Despite that, I am still interested in seeing what happens to Cat and Jesse next. I just know not to read the blurb on the back of the book the next time around.
Review copy provided by Book It Forward Tours