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From Mary Lindsey, the author who gave us ASHES ON THE WAVES, FRAGILE SPIRITS and SHATTERED SOULS, comes HAVEN. HAVEN is a young adult novel that takes place in a small town named New Wurzburg, Texas. Aaron Ryland (who goes by Rain), has lived in and out of homeless shelters for almost all of his life, along with his drug- addicted mother. Since he has never had a father figure in his life, and has a distant mother, Rain has always gotten into trouble with his friend Moth on the streets.

Everything in Rain’s life changes when his mother suddenly dies and he is left with no one. The local judge orders Rain to his next of kin, which is his mother’s sister, Aunt Ruby. Ruby is the local police officer of New Wurzburg, and that is unsettling to Rain in the beginning because he has spent a lot of his time running from the police. Upon moving to this new and unfamiliar town, Rain is also attending the local high school. On his first day, he encounters a mysterious group of three boys and one very intriguing girl. Rain knows that something is off about them, but it is the girl, Freddie Burkhart, who sticks out to him. Freddie Burkhart isn’t like anyone Rain has ever seen before in his life. After getting the chance to know her, he learns that someone murdered her father, and that whoever killed him wants her dead as well --- and Rain will not let that happen.

"As soon as I began reading this book, I was immediately submerged into Rain’s universe and it was spectacular. I could not put it down!...I simply cannot get enough of this world, and I want more!"

Throughout this thrilling novel, Rain learns what it is like to find his real family and to be loved. After all, he has never known what having a loving family is like. He also learns that there are some things worth fighting for --- even worth dying for --- no matter the cost.

As soon as I began reading this book, I was immediately submerged into Rain’s universe and it was spectacular. I could not put it down! I noticed throughout this book numerous parallels to Stephenie Meyer’s The Twilight Saga and the classic tale of Beauty and the Beast. I enjoyed reading this book because it is told through a male’s point of view. Not a lot of young adult novels are told from a male perspective. Even though he is a different gender than me, I found myself greatly relating to him. At such a young age, everyone struggles with finding a sense of purpose.

It was very interesting to watch Rain go on his transformation from beginning to end. It perfectly illustrates what many teenagers go through on a day to day basis. He figures out what it is like to have a real mother figure in his life, and what it is like finding something worth fighting for.

One thing I didn’t particularly like about this book is that some characters would be introduced towards the beginning of the book, and would end up not being very involved in the second half. I understand that there cannot be too many characters to overwhelm the plot, but it would have been nice to learn more about their character development.

I recommend this book to anyone over the age of 13 who loves fantasy, mystery and fiery romance. I would also suggest this book if you are interested in The Twilight Saga, or the tale of Beauty and the Beast. I very much hope that Mary Lindsey will extend this story into other books. I simply cannot get enough of this world, and I want more! I feel like there is so much more she could explore with these characters and this story line. These characters’ stories are not over yet!

Reviewed by Emily F., Teen Board Member on December 13, 2017

by Mary Lindsey