I'm really torn when it comes to this book...Read ahead to see why.
The small town of Swoon, Connecticut is a far cry from New York City, where Dice grew up. But that's where her parents plop her, in a restored farmhouse across the street from her aunt and uncle, the summer before Dice’s senior year. The only way Dice factors into the (tiny) social scene in Swoon is Pen, her beautiful and popular cousin, who is the epitome of sweet and innocent. So when Pen begins to act strangely after a tumble out of an old oak tree, Dice is instantly suspicious. Something has taken control over her cousin, and it's not something good.
Dice soon learns that that something is the ghost of Sinclair Youngblood Powers, and he's out to exact vengeance on the people of Swoon. Concerned for Pen's safety, Dice attempts to perform an exorcism—and unwittingly sets his spirit loose. Now Sin is a living, breathing human guy, determined to wreak havoc on all of Swoon' prominent families. Dice knows she has to stop the madness, but there's just one problem—she's in love with him.
Swoon is an electrifying read. The premise is unique and very appealing to the teenage set, and Malkin's confident and full-of-attitude style is catchy and entertaining. Dice is a strong narrator, and her tolerance for Swoon will hit home with any teen who struggles with being "stuck" in a small town. Her self-assurance and smarts make the book easy to get into, and her inexplicable love for Sin makes her a genuine character that is easy to relate to.
Malkin's presentation of Swoon and the people who live there is very detailed and memorable, from information about the town's history to the teens' tendencies for one syllable names, even if it may be a little confusing at first keeping the large cast of characters straight. However, cautious readers should be warned that there are copious amounts of underage drinking, many scenes with drug use, and quite a few sexual scenes (though for the most part, they’re not very graphic). Most of this behavior is chalked up to "teenagers just being teenagers", and these elements go hand in hand with the "sin" that is ravaging the town (brought on by the character Sin). Malkin doesn't pass judgment on these acts, a gesture which some teens can appreciate. Though some readers may be bothered by these elements, they don't detract from the fact that Malkin is an amazingly talented writer with an absolutely stellar vocabulary, and Swoon is a very well thought-out and imaginative read with a lively and witty protagonist that will leave you laughing and breathless and a lead man that will make you swoon.
Cover Comments: I like the general idea of this cover, with the tree (the tree is very important in the book!), the dark colors, and the girl "swooning". The only thing I didn't care for (and this is not just me, a few friends remarked upon this as well) is that the girl's bangs and the amount of hair being shown just looks awkward. But other than that, I think this is a very eye-catching cover that will definitely urge readers to pick up the book.
Swoon will be available from Simon Pulse on May 19th, 2009!