Saturday, March 10, 2012

Die For Me Book Review

Author: Amy Plum. Release date: 2011. Publisher:  HarperTeen. ISBN: 9780062004018.
Annotation: After their parents’ death, sixteen-year-old Kate Mercier and her older sister, Georgia, leave their home in Brooklyn to live with their grandparents in Paris. Kate feels doomed to live a life of perpetual sadness, grieving for the loss of her parents, until she meets Vincent Delacroix: a handsome French student with a supernatural secret.  
Personal thoughts: I had this title in my “to read” pile for a very long time, and after thoroughly enjoying it, I can’t imagine why I didn’t pick it up sooner! I really love Amy Plum’s breezy writing style. She describes the situations and characters very well without making things melodramatic. The setting is very lush and adds a great deal to the story. I also really enjoyed the concept of the revenants, numa, and learning the pasts of all the members of Jean-Baptiste’s household. I’m really looking forward to the second installment in this series, and would highly recommend this title to fans of paranormal romance!  
Plot summary: Sixteen-year-old Kate Mercier’s life changes forever when her parents are killed in a tragic car accident near their home in Brooklyn, New York. Kate doesn’t feel like she will ever be able to cope with the incomprehensible loss, and her older sister, Georgia, decides that the pair should move to Paris to live with their grandparents. Happy memories spent with her mom and dad plague her for the first few months of her new life in France. Kate fears that she will spend the rest of her life living under a dark cloud, until she meets nineteen-year-old Vincent Delacroix. Vincent is drop dead gorgeous and, for reasons she can’t quite understand, seems to be genuinely interested in Kate. Soon after meeting Vincent, however, Kate inadvertently stumbles upon the truth of his existence: Vincent is a revenant, someone who sacrificed their life to save another and was granted immortality to continue protecting people from untimely deaths. Vincent and his friends and fellow revenants Jules, Ambrose, Charles and Charlotte, have spent decades dying to save others, only to be resurrected in perfect physical shape three days later. Still struggling to cope with her parents’ death, Kate isn’t sure if she could ever get used to the idea of seeing Vincent die constantly, even if it is for a good purpose. To make matters worse, Vincent’s revenant family is at war with a rival group, the numa, beings who are immortal in the same way as the revenants, but who gain power by causing the deaths of others. How will Kate and Vincent’s blossoming romance fare when it seems that everything is trying to keep them apart?
Review:  This debut novel from author Amy Plum begins a romantic, action-packed and creative new series that both teens and adults can enjoy. Set in the charming city of Paris, France, a place that is clearly important to the author upon reading her loving descriptions, Die For Me tells the story of a mortal/immortal relationship that is quite unique in the genre. Although many novels have delved into the “girl dates zombie” concept, Die For Me takes a new, far more pleasing take on the undead. Vincent Delacroix and the rest of the revenants are actually crime fighters, using their immortality to prevent the untimely deaths of others. Their guardian, Jean-Baptiste, is also a revenant, and looks after the teens a la Dr. Cullen in the Twilight series. Fans of Stephanie Meyer’s popular series will find a lot to enjoy in Amy Plum’s creation, with the novel having enough of a similar romantic tone to appeal to Twilight fans, but different enough to be entertaining. The lead character, Kate Mercier, is troubled but also very likable. She is coping with a very serious tragedy, and makes mistakes in her interactions as one would expect of someone her age. Many readers will find a lot to relate to in Kate, including her feeling insecure, finding herself in her sister’s shadow, and doubting that Vincent could have true feelings for her. In addition to the romantic aspects of the story, Die For Me is also full of action and lore, giving it enough depth to keep the series going. The next installment, Until I Die, is set to be released on May 8, 2012.
Genre: Fiction/Romance
Reading level: Grade 7+
Similar titles: Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer, Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon, Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini, Hourglass by Myra McEntire, Soul Screamers series by Rachel Vincent.  
Themes:  Immortality, death, loss, grief, Paris, France, war, sisters, romance.
Awards/Reviews:  Starred review from School Library Journal, positive reviews from Publishers Weekly, Booklist and New York Journal of Books.     
Series Information: First installment in the Revenants series. Second installment, Until I Die, set to be released on May 8, 2012.
Discussion questions: 
-     Do you think it was a good idea for George and Kate to move to Paris after their parents’ death? Why or why not?
-     Do you think that Georgia used her partying to cope with the loss of her parents?
-    Why do you think Vincent was so enchanted by Kate?
-     Why do you think Kate was unsure about her relationship with Vincent? Do you think she did the right thing in taking a step back?
-   Who is your favorite character in the novel? Why?
-    What would you like to see happen in the second novel in this series?

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