Phoenix Awakens – another predictable YA Supernatural Contemporary

Phoenix Awakens – another predictable YA Supernatural Contemporary

You’ve read this book before.  Several times.  The names change and the supernatural powers change, but the story stays the same and it all begins with a new hottie at the high school.  There is a creepiness to this book that helps it stand out a little from the crowd, but it ultimately was too predictable to really grab me.  Three stars.


Goodreads Summary

A paranormal debut about a high school senior who finds herself in a fight with a secret society for control of ancient magic.

Julia never believed in magic.

Julia Long is starting her senior year with an extra dose of crazy. The dreams of cultish, bloody rituals are weird enough, but the victim in her lifelike dreams is her new classmate, Southern charmer Graham.

Graham admits he was a Phoenix — part of a centuries old secret society — but swears he left it all behind. As Julia works with Graham to figure out why she is dreaming about his past, she’s discovering she has other abilities. She heals Graham’s migraines with a touch, and there’s her superhuman strength that comes and goes. Julia doesn’t know where her new talents come from, but there’s no denying that when Graham is near, her powers kick into overdrive.

But the Phoenix Society wants Graham back. They need his blood to awaken the magic they seek, and they’ll do whatever it takes to get it.

Can Julia uncover the truth behind her connection to Graham? How far will Julia go in order to save Graham and stop the Phoenixes from harnessing this powerful magic?

My Thoughts

While this story does incorporate secret societies and rather bloody rituals, – Why don’t we have more of this? – it is, for the most part, a fairly predictable YA story.  The average girl meets a hot new guy at school and suddenly her whole world changes as she begins to have strange dreams and odd encounters that tie in with this new friendship.  It feels Twilighty and Beautiful Creaturesy and like a whole host of other YA books that have been written in the YA genre in the last decade.  I don’t think that has to be a bad thing; there is still an audience for this, but I don’t think this book really brings anything exciting or new to the table.  As an adult reader of YA, I found all the high school drama detrimental to the pace.  The decision to focus on relationships rather than the main plot really slowed this book down for me, but I think that relationships and high school drama are what appeal to the target audience, so I understand what the author was doing.  Even so,  the supernatural aspect of the story is what really could make this book unique.  It certainly had a creep factor to it that I didn’t see coming and that I enjoyed, but the decision to keep readers in the dark and to focus on a romantic relationship and a struggling bestie situation instead of exploring the magical system more fully was frustrating to me.  Secondary characters who served little purpose were a problem for me as well.  I’m not sure if they were worth throwing into the mix when they did little to move the story forward.  Overall, I think this could have been a better read for me if a few aspects had been sacrificed to streamline the story as a whole.   Language and situations are appropriate for grades 7+, and the younger end of that spectrum will probably enjoy it more than older, more discerning readers.

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


About queenbook

When the final bell rings, I stash those messy piles of essays and analysis assignments in a desk drawer and I head home to a pile of good books. My kids and dog eat too many chicken nuggets and the house could be neater, but as long as I get my daily read, I guess we are doing all right. When I was twelve and fifteen and eighteen and twenty, I believed I needed to get out there and do those things I had just been reading about, which ended in disaster, tears, a tattoo that scares me every time I catch a glimpse of it in the mirror, and the realization that some of us are meant for action, and some of us are meant to critique the pace of action in a book. I read primarily YA fiction as I have a rather hulking classroom library and a hundred high school readers to engage daily. Nothing makes me happier than coming to school and finding an impatient teenager waiting by my door to turn in a book and get another one just like it. I adore a good zombie, a medieval princess, or girl assassin (I would like them all in one book if you are a writer looking for some inspiration). I add historical mystery to my wish list a year in advance, and you should get out of my way when the next Outlander book comes out. I have an embarrassing fondness for rock star books, but only if they don’t get too trashy and embarrass me. My favorite book of all time is The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery. My book boyfriends include Gilbert Blythe, Alonzo Wilder, and Jamie Fraser. They are mine and you can’t have them.

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