Tuesday, July 9, 2013

YA Fiction: Illuminated by Erica Orloff

Publisher: Speak
Date: December 2011
Format: paperback
Source: purchased new
Read: to clean out my TBR pile
Pages: 244
Reading time: about two hours

From GoodReads: Some loves are not made to last . . . Like Romeo and Juliet, Heloise and Abelard were doomed from the start, and their romance was destined to pass into history. Yet when sixteen-year-old Callie Martin discovers a diary hidden within an antique book, their story - and hers - takes on another life. For the diary leads Callie to the brilliant and handsome August, who is just as mysterious as the secret the diary hides. Their attraction is undeniable. As the two hunt down the truth behind the diary - and that of Heloise and Abelard's ancient romance - their romance becomes all-consuming. But Callie knows it can't last . . . love never does. Will their love that burns as bright as a shooting star flame out, or will these star-crossed lovers be able to defy history?

My review: While reading Illuminated, I realized that this book was not, in fact, my cup of tea. Mostly, this is due to the fact that this is not a retelling of Abelard and Heloise's story like I had thought, but rather, it's a contemporary teen romance that finds its inspiration in that classic tale of love. The characters felt a bit flat to me - for a potential history major, Callie's original interest in the medieval manuscript that sparks everything is rather sporadic - and I wished the plot had focused a little more on the secrets hidden in the manuscript and a little less on Callie's strange obsession with connecting her and August's new romance with that of Abelard and Heloise. But hey, how much fault can you find with a romance who's male lead is intelligent, attractive, nice, and into old books? It's a cute read, just not my cup of tea.

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