eBook - 2015
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"When five brothers move into the abandoned mansion next door, Sophie Gracewell's life changes forever. Irresistibly drawn to bad boy Nic Falcone, Sophie finds herself falling into an underworld governed by powerful families. When Sophie's own family skeletons come to life, she must choose between two warring dynasties--the one she was born into, and the one she is falling in love with"--
Publisher: New York : Chicken House/Scholastic Inc., 2015
Edition: First American edition
ISBN: 9780545699839
Branch Call Number: EBOOK YA OVERDRIVE
Characteristics: 1 online resource

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FindingJane Mar 06, 2015

Sophie is one of the more infuriating female protagonists out there as she falls prey again and again to the blandishments of a pretty-boy seducer, part of a family of five boys, some of whom display lethal tempers, suspiciously bruised knuckles and copious amounts of blood. You’d think with such warning signs that Sophie would back away from Nicoli, long before his furious brother tells her to steer clear of them. But, if YA novels deal with 17-year-old girls who managed to think with their heads instead of their hormones, their shelves would be depressingly bare of text.

So we’re forced to read as Sophie gradually teases out the truth of her family’s involvement with the Falcones, a stereotypical band of Italian mafiosos, while falling for Nicoli’s honey-eyed good looks and well-plied charisma. In one section that reads like a textbook script for a seduction, Sophie gradually releases her horror at seeing him nearly kill a boy until she’s enfolded in Nicoli’s arms for a fiery kiss. Ugh. It’s easy to see that Nicoli is just a brilliant psychopath, the kind who seduces, lies and charms his victims while still maintaining that he’s a good, kind, decent and trustworthy. Whenever Sophie’s feelings waver, he skillfully initiates physical contact to weaken her defenses until she’s putty in his arms.

But the author is skilled enough so that many readers won’t see Nicoli’s behavior in such a light. Instead, they’ll see merely a gentle teenaged boy falling for a girl on the wrong side of a family feud. Nicoli’s act is convincing enough so that it doesn’t seem like an act and this subtlety about events and people runs throughout the entire book. There’s no such thing as a Manichean way of life, no such thing as absolute good or evil. If Sophie fails to grasp the seriousness of this in time to avoid trouble, then at least the rest of the characters aren’t so clueless.

There is romance here but also crime, mystery and enough psychological drama to tempt even the most skeptical and discerning of readers.


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