By Cynthia Leitich Smith.
Tantalize, Candlewick, 2007
Eternal, Candlewick, 2009
Blessed, Candlewick, 2011
Quincie is a senior in high school and struggling to keep her family's restaurant in business. Following the violent death of her close friend and head chef, she falls under the influence of the mysterious new chef who arrives to work at the restaurant. The story is set in Austin, TX but in a different reality where shape shifters and other paranormal entities exist and fluorish. Kieren, her best friend and would-be love intereset is discovering his inner-werewolf and is keeping his distance from her. Quincie is captured by the dark and transformed into a nightmare.
Eternal is set in this same universe (different city) but focuses on a guardian angel named Zachary who, unwisely, intervenes to save his seventeen year old charge, Miranda when she and a friend are attacked by vampires. Zachary's interference causes Miranda to be bitten and kidnapped by the vampires who elevate her to vampire royalty. Zachary is an all-knowing angel who sees the big picture but is fallible. Literally, "dis-graced," he is still intent on saving Miranda from her grotesque, eternal existence
Quincie and Miranda are lost souls but both girls retain enough of their humanity to despair of what they have become. Is that enough to save them?
Disclaimers: For the record, I generally avoid stories about vampires et al. I only, just managed Twilight but abandoned the sequels. I read the original Dracula by Bram Stoker in college and was so horrified by the image of Dracula scuttling down the wall of his castle, that the memory of that scene is still burned into my brain. Eternal also has some gruesome and grisley moments that made me go a bit wobbley.
Cynthia Leitich Smith has intriqued me though and has made me want to read the next book, Blessed. Quincie and Miranda did not choose their condition but they are monsters, nevertheless. Can their souls be redeemed? Smith does not focus on any individual religion or faith here but the story reflects a belief that we all possess a spirit that can be imperiled. For teen readers, that is not a bad thing to ponder.
I want to know the rest of the story.