by Elizabeth Chandler
(Kissed by an Angel #4)
So, let’s talk for a minute. When Kell was a teenager, her best friend (another Kell!) brought to her attention a trilogy by the name Kissed by an Angel by Elizabeth Chandler. Both Kells read and loved them. So romantic. So tragic. So mysterious! They were perfect. Then, the sadly-no-longer-in-print Love Stories collection became known to us. And we discovered I Do (Love Stories #35) and At First Sight (Love Stories #32) both written by one Ms. Elizabeth Chandler. All five of these books I still own. And still reread. They DELIGHT me.
Fast-forward over ten years to when Simon Pulse rereleased the Kissed by an Angel series in a gorgeous single volume. I was delighted. But when I heard that Elizabeth Chandler was writing a trilogy to serve as a SEQUEL to the KbaA series? Squealing. And immediately calling other Kell. Huge. Deal.
So I may not be entirely un-biased in this review. You just have to understand. Elizabeth Chandler had a huge influence on my YA literary days (which, for those just now enjoying YA literature when it is blooming and huge, was not particularly pretty. YA was pretty rough in the 90s. Exceptions exist, of course, but…) Full disclosure and all that.
And now, Evercrossed. Back with Ivy, Will, Beth and the rest of the gang…
I was curious to see if this book could be read without reading KbaA and I’m mostly of the opinion that it can stand alone. Chandler does a pretty good job of incorporating the events of KbaA into Evercrossed (and without a whole lot of exposition stuck in at the beginning, at that). In some ways it might actually be better not to have read KbaA because we have a time jump in terms of technology and lingo, etc., but not in passage of time in the story. (Ivy, in 1998, did not have an iPod. But she does now, one summer later.)
BUT (you knew this was coming, right?) I think it is worthwhile to read the former trilogy because the knowledge amps up the tension. There are some interesting parallels between the first trilogy and this fourth book that really put you on edge and make you doubt each character.
I will be honest and say the first 75 pages were tough to get into because everything seemed so…I’m struggling to find an adequate word…clean? Tame? I can’t really put my finger on it. Only when Ivy starts to question things and push a bit did I start to find the familiar “this is SOSOSOSOSO good” feeling that I get when reading books by Chandler.
Largely, there is an awful lot of setup in this first book: laying out the seeds of doubt, a variety of possibilities and, as I mentioned, filling in the backstory. But there is a bit of action and creepiness, as well. And there’s romance (hello! it’s an Elizabeth Chandler book!). Of course, since it’s the first in a trilogy, there’s also a lovely cliffhanger. (Epic. Sigh.) But I knew it was coming and welcome it because it means Two More Elizabeth Chandler Books!
I know, I know. Mostly gushing. But I forewarned you! Will everyone love this book? Of course not. But I adored it once I got into it. Not only for nostalgic reasons, but also because Elizabeth Chandler knows how to make me squeal over someone in one chapter then accuse them of the worst things possible in the next.
Publisher: Simon Pulse
How I got a-hold of this (epic) book: egalley from the publisher, although I’m ordering one for myself
p.s. When can we get the Love Stories back in print? My copies are falling apart. And I have never once seen one at a used bookstore. (Although I know I can get them online…)
p.p.s. one day I would love to post about what YA was like in the 90s (aka how hard it was to find anything to read post-Sweet Valley). I still have a lot of books I read and liked and so do my friends. It was such a different time and would be an interesting comparison. Someone remind me?