February 22, 2011
One month into her junior year, sixteen-year-old Violet McKenna transfers to the Winterhaven School in New York’s Hudson Valley, inexplicably drawn to the boarding school with high hopes. Leaving Atlanta behind, she’s looking forward to a fresh start--a new school, and new classmates who will not know her deepest, darkest secret, the one she’s tried to hide all her life: strange, foreboding visions of the future.
But Winterhaven has secrets of its own, secrets that run far deeper than Violet’s. Everyone there--every student, every teacher--has psychic abilities, 'gifts and talents,' they like to call them. Once the initial shock of discovery wears off, Violet realizes that the school is a safe haven for people like her. Soon, Violet has a new circle of friends, a new life, and maybe even a boyfriend--Aidan Gray, perhaps the smartest, hottest guy at Winterhaven.
Only there’s more to Aidan than meets the eye--much, much more. And once she learns the horrible truth, there’s no turning back from her destiny. Their destiny. Together, Violet and Aidan must face a common enemy--if only they can do so without destroying each other first.
Haven was an exciting and fun-filled novel that I quickly devoured! There is so much to this book that I don't even know how to explain it. I will say that the synopsis for Haven is a tad misleading as there is much more to the story than psychics. The teens at the school have some really cool powers like astral-projecting and a unique kind of shapeshifting. There was another supernatural creature that was thrown in that completely blew me out of the water. I can't say what, but they are a huge part of the story and we find out that there is so much more to Violet because of them.
I have mixed feelings about Violet. She is a very angsty teen who does a lot of woe-is me and feels like a freak because of her psychic powers. While I can understand that she would feel abnormal in her world, I don't think that she should have been so upset about it. Her powers give her an advantage that normal people don't have. She did however grow on me and by the end I could relate to her more. She goes through soooo much in this book and makes some pretty interesting realizations about herself. Not to mention that she falls in love with an attractive and broody Aidan. Winterhaven gets Violet to come to terms with her powers and she finds the acceptance she has always hoped for in the school. She makes many new friends that are there to help her through the hard times. I really came to enjoy Violet as she worked her way through obstacles that I don't know that I could have passed through.
Aidan is oh-so yummy yet oh-so complicated. He is such an enigma and I really loved getting to know him and finding out about who he was. There is a huge twist involving Aidan that I did not expect at all. While I was a little upset that the author made him what he was, she was able to pull it off and the story was much more entertaining because of that. She definitely took a risk with Aidan and that paid off. I relished in the time it took to build his and Violet's relationship. Aidan is so hot and cold with her that he does get a little frustrating. He knows that their relationship is in a way doomed, yet he can't seem to resist Violet, nor can Violet ignore the pull between them.
There were some plot twists in Haven that completely threw me for a loop! I was gasping and shivering along with Violet as she made her revalations about herself and those around her. She also has something major that she learns about herself that explains her unique powers. I was a little weary as to how Cook could pull everything off, put she managed it beautifully. Her explanations to why people and supernaturals were the way they were had me entranced. I loved how she explained and didn't just state what people were. I liked knowing why, too.
Haven is a beautifully written novel that had me deeply engrossed! I loved Cook's writing and her characters were not one-dimensional but nicely fleshed out. Do not let some of the plot points deflect you from finishing the story. I was weary at first with some of the things that Cook put in there, but she did a good job of making them seem realistic. Definitely pick up a copy of this on your next trip to the library or bookstore!