Author: Kristi Cook
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publish Date: February 22, 2011
Genre: YA, paranormal
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.
When Violet’s stepmother gets a new job in New York, she’s given the choice to stay in Atlanta with her Gran or move to New York and basically start over. As soon as she sees the flyer for Winterhaven, her mind is made up. She knows that this school is where she belongs, she just doesn’t know why. She makes new friends and eventually starts to understand her new school. Then there’s Aidan Gray. She can’t help but feel the “Aidan Effect” each time he is within proximity of her - which is at least two classes every day. As much as she feels afraid of him for some reason, she also can’t seem to stay away from him.
I loved all of Kristi’s characters. Each character had their own “talent or gift,” but each also had their own personality to go along with it. Having so many supporting characters, it’s amazing that none of them really resembled one another - each was individual in their own way and either had their own charm or... not. To me, all of Violet’s friends seemed like true friends, the kinds you want to be friends with. They worried about her when she had a vision and were supportive of her when she needed them. There was definitely great characterization in this book.
The relationship between Aidan and Violet was fun to be a part of. I think that their relationship was really believable. If Aidan was being a jerk or being secretive or whatever, Violet took offense to it. Most girls would. Depending on the circumstances, most girls won’t be mad one second and then all “I’m so sorry I didn’t mean it” the next like you see in some books. It sometimes happens in reality, yes, but when you see it too often in books it’s irritating. Violet and Aidan had issues and they were more or less realistic, considering the fact that they’re at a school for people with psychic gifts. But that’s besides the point.
Another thing I liked about this book is that it had all the best parts of other books rolled into one. There were moments where I was like “hey, I recognize this...” and it would remind me of Twilight or Fallen or Angelfire. But it’s not as if Kristi stole any ideas (Angelfire just came out one week before Haven), they were just familiar and all these parts pulled HAVEN together perfectly.
I loved the way the story unraveled towards the end. I don’t want to give anything away, but the world that Kristi created and the paths she put her characters on were original and well thought out. I sometimes felt like I knew what was going to happen because Violet has visions and she's adamant that they always come true, but even the visions can be misleading and I didn’t know what was going to happen. But I enjoyed it all to the very end!
HAVEN is a great debut novel for Kristi Cook. She has definitely made a name for herself in the YA community. I really hope that she writes a sequel because, even though the story ended nicely, there are still so many places she could take Violet and Aidan. There are a lot of unanswered questions and it would also be nice to find some answers. Kristi said that she hopes there’s a sequel as well, but she’s not sure yet. Let’s all cross our fingers that we get to see more of Violet and Aidan!
If you'd like to read Haven, pick up a copy for yourself!