These reviews have been copied from the New York Public Library’s Website – http://www.nypl.org
PW Reviews 2014 September #2
In Boone’s debut, an expansive Southern gothic tale, Barrie Watson is sent to live with her aunt Pru on Watson Island after Barrie’s shut-in mother, Lula, dies and her godfather is diagnosed with terminal cancer. Barrie was born with a “finding gift” that compels her to seek what is lost or left unsettled, and amid the Beaufort and Colesworth clans—the founding families of Watson Island, along with Barrie’s forebears—Barrie learns she isn’t the only one with a gift. Curses plague Watson Island, ghosts haunt its mansions, evil spirits live in its woods, and a frightening “Fire Carrier” emerges at night over its waters. Together, Barrie and a handsome Beaufort boy named Eight seek justice and to right old wrongs. Though the novel is grounded in the present day, there’s an old-fashioned quality to Boone’s dialogue and characters; she skillfully blends rich magic and folklore with adventure, sweeping romance, and hidden treasure, all while exploring the island and its accompanying legends. An impressive start to the Heirs of Watson Island series. Ages 12–up. Agent: Kent Wolf, Lippincott Massie McQuilkin. (Oct.) [Page ].
Copyright 2014 PWxyz LLC
School Library Journal
SLJ Reviews 2014 August
Gr 9 Up—After the death of her mother, and her loving caretaker Mark’s losing battle with cancer sends him to hospice, Barrie Watson makes her way from San Francisco to live with her Aunt Pru on her family’s estate on Watson Island in South Carolina. Curious about her father, who died in a fire that led to her mother’s facial scars and reclusiveness, Barrie is eager to meet relatives on both sides of her family for the first time. What she discovers is far more complicated than the open-armed reunion she’d desired. Watson Island is bound by an old curse that has kept its three founding families, the Watsons, the Beauforts, and the Colesworths, at odds with one another for years. The mysterious Fire Carrier that appears over the river outside of her window each night holds the key to some part of the curse, and the yunwi (spirits that keep watch around Watson Landing) are clearly trying to communicate something to the protagonist. She uses her gift for finding things that have been lost, with some help from dreamy Eight Beaufort, to figure out the secrets that have held her family captive. A little bit Gone with the Wind, a little bit Romeo and Juliet, along with a hearty dose of the paranormal, Boone’s debut mixes a Southern gothic setting with fantasy and romance for an engrossing, albeit over-the-top mystery. Although the plot at times becomes overly complicated and the drama is of the hand-to-the-forehead fainting variety, this book will appeal to fans of paranormal and traditional romances.—Joanna Sondheim, Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School, New York City
[Page 96]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Booklist Reviews 2014 October #1
When her mother, Lula, dies, Barrie is sent off to her aunt’s palatial plantation home in South Carolina. She has never met her aunt, and Lula never spoke of her life before the fire that left her scarred and her husband, Barrie’s father, dead. That mystery alone would be enough to intrigue 17-year-old Barrie, but when she arrives at Watson Landing, her supernatural gift—a powerful compulsion to find any lost thing—goes into overdrive. What has been lost at Watson Landing, and what will happen when Barrie finally finds it? Meanwhile, conflicts among the Watsons and the two other founding families of the beach town bubble to the surface as Barrie navigates her new family and a community preoccupied with knowing everything about her. Then there’s the hottie who lives across the river and seems to understand everything she wants. While it sometimes sags under the weight of its occasionally ragged pacing and overstuffed plot, debut author Boone’s southern gothic certainly delivers a compelling mystery about feuding families and buried secrets, not to mention a steamy romance.
Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.
The Horn Book
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2015 Spring
Arriving at her ancestral home, Barrie discovers she’s heir both to a special power for finding lost things and a generations-old feud. Her cousin and an old family friend have unspoken designs on Barrie; discovering the secrets that link them all together reveals unexpected threats. A “Native American Fire Carrier” thread comes out of nowhere and falls flat, but the magical realism of the tale creates effective tension.
Voice of Youth Advocates Reviews
VOYA Reviews 2014 December
Following the death of her reclusive mother, seventeen-year-old Barrie moves in with an aunt she had not known existed, on the South Carolina family plantation her mother had left years before under a shroud of lies. This plantation is on Watson Island, and the heirs of the founders of this island are made up of three intertwined families, each with their own paranormal gifts and curses. Barrie is the last of the heirs on her branch of the family, the Watsons. Their gift is finding things that are lost, but each of the families finds that their gifts are so powerful they become painful compulsions. Soon after arriving, Barrie finds herself in a feud with a cousin and her bloodthirsty father who want to use her gifts for their own gain. She also encounters family secrets, ghosts, and a young Southern gentleman named Eight, with whom she quickly falls in love. This is the first book in a planned trilogy. Despite the nearly 450 pages, the events that occur in the final chapters seem rushed and unsupported by previous plot development. In the beginning, the protagonist seems to have the “kitchen sink” of misfortune thrown at her, then events are resolved in a flurry as the book draws to a frenzied close. Fans of Southern gothic fiction or paranormal romance with a heavy dose of melodrama will find a couple to root for in Barrie and Eight.—Sherrie Williams 2Q 3P S
Copyright 2011 Voya Reviews.