Thursday, April 28, 2011

Enchanted Island by May Torres

Enchanted IslandThe author of this novel has done a great job of combining Puerto Rican history with an entertaining modern day tale of 4 teenagers. I hesitate to use the word "paranormal" here because to me, paranormal is vampires and werewolves (which I hate). I am going to use the word "magic" instead to describe the twist.

Gabby is a young Puerto Rican girl growing up in NY. Her mom works for this snooty, rich white family with a daughter Gabby's age, Molly. Molly is actually very lonely and dying for real friends and though it's rough going at first, the two girls become friends. Enter Gilberto, another Puerto Rican American kid and an absolute honey bunny and you got some jealousy issues... When the three of them take a trip to PR at the age of 12, another young PR man enters the scene, Juan. More jealousy builds up and this time, the result is a life changing experience.. as Gabby gets hurt and begins to experience strange visions related to the island of enchantment.

Back in NY, Molly enters the school of hard knocks and Gabby and Gilberto begin to take their relationship to the next level. Then this love quad thing starts... Gilberto loves Gabby. Gabby love Gilberto and Juan. Juan loves Gabby. And Molly loves Juan.. for a while. 
Sounds a little 90210ish, right? Well, I was highly entertained and it turns out these "love connections" tie in to a bigger story that explodes in the last quarter. All four of them of are related somehow in their past lives.. and each past life leads back to Puerto Rico. 

So, when all four of them find themselves back on the island as teenagers, all hell breaks loose. There's some magic, some evil, some ship wrecking, some stones, visions, forbidden love, rivalry, and resentment as Gabby unveils the story of Loiza Aldea and it's up to Gabby to break a "curse" of sorts.

Loiza Aldea... (there's a town in PR named after her) was a woman cacique (chief). According to legend, she was killed by her own people for becoming the lover of a Spanish mullato and converting to the white man's religion. May Torres does a "story within a story" to explain the legend of Puerto Rico's only female cacique. Well done.

The writing style sometimes tells more than shows, but because what was being "told" was so entertaining to me, I wasn't bothered by this. One thing that bothered me was repetition. Often, a scene would be relayed twice. Example: When the teens are on a boat, Molly is watching Juan and Gabby and steaming up cause Juan puts an arm around Gabby. Then we read about it as though it's a "close up" and the scene is repeated but telling what Gabby is feeling as Juan puts an arm around her. Since the story was told in third person POV, I felt this was unnecessary. This was a minor irritation for me as it happened more than once.

There are some minor punctuation/spelling errors, but nothing to call the Guard about. 

All in all, a good read. I'm not certain if this is marketed as YA or not, but I think it's more adult. If you are looking to pass this to a young adult, you may want to sit down and discuss sexual relations and the responsibilities that go with such relations with the individual as the teenagers in the novel are having sexual intercourse at 15 years of age. Some teenagers may get the wrong idea. 

Four stars. I received this from the publisher. 

No comments:

Post a Comment