Title: Born at Midnight (Shadow Falls #1)
Author: C.C. Hunter
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
One night Kylie Galen finds herself at the wrong party, with the wrong people, and it changes her life forever. Her mother ships her off to Shadow Falls—a camp for troubled teens, and within hours of arriving, it becomes painfully clear that her fellow campers aren’t just “troubled.” Here at Shadow Falls, vampires, werewolves, shapshifters, witches and fairies train side by side—learning to harness their powers, control their magic and live in the normal world. Kylie’s never felt normal, but surely she doesn’t belong here with a bunch of paranormal freaks either. Or does she? They insist Kylie is one of them, and that she was brought here for a reason. As if life wasn’t complicated enough, enter Derek and Lucas. Derek’s a half-fae who’s determined to be her boyfriend, and Lucas is a smokin’ hot werewolf with whom Kylie shares a secret past. Both Derek and Lucas couldn’t be more different, but they both have a powerful hold on her heart. Even though Kylie feels deeply uncertain about everything, one thing is becoming painfully clear—Shadow Falls is exactly where she belongs. -summary form goodreads.com
After having met Mrs. Hunter at this year’s RT Teen day, I was very excited to start reading her book. I had very high expectations and in certain ways, the book did deliver. I really enjoyed the storyline and was easily transported to the magical world of Shadow Falls that the author created, but my big problem was that it didn’t leave a lasting impression. After I finished reading it, not once did I give it a second thought…. It wasn’t until I sat down to write this review that I thought to myself, “Oh crap, what happened in this book again?”
I’ll admit, the beginning of the book was addicting and it promised an exciting plot. The story opens up with Kylie (our protagonist) having one of the worst days of her life. I quickly found myself feeling sympathy towards Kylie, her whole world was falling apart and she didn’t have anyone to comfort for. Even her friends were too busy slutin’ it up to even notice that Kylie needed a shoulder to cry on. Things quickly take a turn for the worst when Kylie gets set off to Shadow Falls, a camp that is supposedly for troubled teens, but she soon finds out that camp isn't made up of druggies and delinquents. Shadow falls camp is a place for witches, fae, werewolves, shapeshifters and vampires. The big question now is; how does Kylie fit in?
For about half the book, Kylie is in denial about what she is, and I enjoyed reading about her own journey of self-acceptance. In the majority of paranormal books I’ve read recently, it feels to me that the main character accepts his/her power/situation too readily… it’s as if they knew the paranormal existed all along, even if they didn't. Does that make sense? Kylie's denial seemed very real to me, but that won’t stop me in saying that I hated her attitude in the beginning of camp. Also, did anyone else notice how many times this girl would brush her breasts against other boys? (I think I read of couple of reviews that mentioned that detail). I know it was supposed to add a sort of sexual tension between the characters, but I just thought it was ridiculous and laughed every time it happened.
The love interests in the novel kept my interest (Team Derick! Woo whoo!). Although I’m not to sure what team Kylie herself is on, she was pretty indecisive. To be honest, I lost count of how many times she came close to finally deciding on one and then changes her mind. Her relationship with Lucas felt super fast and forced. I understand that they’ve known each other since they were kid neighbors, but that doesn’t justify that fact that you’re making out with the guy during “Meet your camp mate hour”. That was another plot device that bugged me. It was obvious that “Meet your camp mate hour” was an excuse to have Kylie spend some alone time with the boys. The activity was designed to build friendship and to get to know another paranormal, but it's seemed more like a matchmaking service because they only pair a girl with a boy.
C. C. Hunter's writing was something that was constant throughout the whole novel. It was strong, easy to read, and had a great flow. My only complaint was the pacing; it was slow. The story does pick up towards the end, but by then I had already figured out who was behind all the mysterious camp activities. On the other hand, finding out the identity of the man following Kylie around was quite a pleasant surprise. I did not see that coming and it was well played out. Overall, I enjoyed BAM and I will be reading the sequel. Mostly because I want to see what happens to Kylie and the gang... and to see what’s up with the darn waterfall. All this reference to it in the book and we never even see it. Thank goodness book one wraps up nicely, no major cliffhangers, because book two won’t be out till October.