Title: The Splendor Falls
Author: Rosemary Clement-Moore
Page Count: 517 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre: paranormal, young adult
Copy for review compliments of the public library
50 words or less: After a terrible accident ruins her promising career as a ballerina, Sylvie Davis gets shipped off to her family home in Maddox Landing, Alabama for some R & R. What she gets is suspicion, history, expectations, drama, and a little romance. Whew!
The Splendor Falls is definitely not a book that I would consider myself falling for, under most circumstances. I freely admit, the paranormal element (combined with some excellent reviews on other blogs) made me pick up the book in the first place. I am so glad that I did.
To classify The Splendor Falls as a paranormal book wouldn't be entirely accurate. Sure, those elements are definitely present and prominent throughout the story, but there isn't anything spookier than what you'd find in a Goosebumps book and really, you could think the whole paranormal premise is a bunch of hogwash and still enjoy the hell out of this book.
No, the arena in which this book really shines is in character development, in a beautiful and dramatic setting, and in poking at some sore spots in human nature without ever getting overblown or gross. At its core, The Splendor Falls is the story of one young girl's unwilling quest to figure out what her life should be about once her first choice is taken away from her.
Sylvie Davis had a promising career as a ballerina; a humiliating onstage leg fracture sends that dream riding off into the sunset in a big hurry, and an embarrassing incident at her mother's wedding seals her fate as a pariah and someone who needs to be taken care of and protected. Over her protests, Sylvie is sent to live with her cousin at the old family house in Maddox Landing, Alabama, with the hopes that she'll settle down and find some direction away from all the hubbub of city life and the reminders of her accident and subsequent fall from grace.
Sylvie is very self-reflective and her narrative voice is very powerful. She's painfully aware of what people think her problems truly are; she wants to make the best of her situation but can't make herself go against her own nature or take snark and backstabbing sitting down.
The backdrop of the story (both the historical and contemporary facets) is breathtaking; the old plantation house, the horrible prison, the local political drama, you name it.
Against this backdrop you have not only Sylvie's personal drama, but also her romantic drama too, as two incredibly different guys both appear on her radar- Rhys, the secretive guy, and Shawn, the charming good ol' boy and hometown hero. Reading Sylvie's analysis of her relationships with each one was engrossing to say the least.
But wait, there's more! There are ghost stories, war stories, archaology, geology, folklore, issues of destiny, magic, and so much more! I seriously cannot recommend this book enough, I think there's something here for everyone. Take all the juicy content and present it in
eloquent, beautiful prose, and you have The Splendor Falls in a nutshell.
Although I would recommend this book to anyone, I definitely recommend it to people who are either getting burned out on paranormal or YA books or who just don't see what all the fuss is about. The Splendor Falls is a case study in how a book can incorporate elements of the paranormal in just such a way as to make an emotional, engrossing story, while still having plenty of room for other issues. Read and enjoy, people, read and enjoy.
Overall Grade: A+
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