For three teenagers, dark mystery has always lurked at the corner of the eyes and the edge of sleep. Beautiful Morgan D'Amici wakes in her trailerpark home with dirt and blood under her fingernails. Paintings come alive under Ondine Mason's violet-eyed gaze. Haunted runaway Nix Saint-Michael sees halos of light around people about to die. At a secret summer rave, the three teenagers learn of their true, changeling nature and their uncertain, intertwined destinies. Riveting, unflinching, beautiful, Betwixt shows a magic as complex and challenging as any ordinary truth.
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Tara Bray Smith's autobiographical adult novel, West of Then, was published in 2004 to critical acclaim. She was born and raised in Hawaii, and now lives in New York City and Dusseldorf, Germany. Betwixt was Tara's debut novel for young adults, and she is currently working on the third book.From Booklist:
When three teens, each haunted by uncanny happenings, receive invitations to a top-secret summer solstice celebration, they expect a typical Portland rave. Instead, they find an elaborate ritual staged to inform them about a secret, powerful nonhuman race to which they actually belong. Eagerness to learn about the race will pull readers through the first 200 pages, which introduce the connections hurling the teens toward the truth. Thereafter, the momentum slackens, with Smith haphazardly doling out facts about the teens’ true physiology and situation, and introducing confrontations with evil renegades that end before they have truly begun. This isn’t advertised as a series launcher, but many readers will emerge hoping for additional installments that clarify hazy plot elements and further develop Smith’s interesting characters—whose matter-of-fact multiculturalism is a bonus. Aspects of this dark fantasy will remind some readers of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight (2005), especially the poetically limned Pacific Northwest setting. But the language in this book is unusually raw, and occasional sexual allusions, often in a leering context, will substantially narrow the book’s audience. Grades 11-12. --Jennifer Mattson
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