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I absolutely adore reading - my love for books has had a huge impact on my life! I'm going to grad school to be a children's/YA librarian.

Arise

Arise - Tara Hudson

New Orleans 
Saint Louis
Number One Cemetery
A night there can change a life . . . or a death.

 

Increasingly worried that dark spirits will carry out their threats and hurt the people she cares for most, Amelia is ready to try anything to protect them. And for his own very different reasons, Joshua has come to this cemetery at midnight to join her in a powerful ritual. Both know that once Amelia steps inside the Voodoo circle and the beautiful girl from the Conjure Café begins the ceremony, everything will change. (source)

I read this book as part of my US of YA challenge - it counts for Louisiana. However, after reading its predecessor (Hereafter), I definitely would have picked it up on my own. I'm really enjoying this trilogy and I'm glad that this book didn't let me down. 

 

I loved the setting. I've never been to New Orleans, but I've wanted to go for as long as I knew it existed. The culture sounds absolutely beautiful and it has such a unique history. Both of these appeal to me and I'd love to be able to experience them firsthand. For the time being, I have to rely on books and movies set there to have some degree of exposure to the city. The setting of New Orleans gave Arise an eerie, beautiful, and mysterious atmosphere. It was cool to see Amelia in a place where ghost stories are ingrained in the culture. That being said, I do think that Hudson could have developed this aspect of the story a bit more. We got to see a lot of cemeteries, particularly Saint Louis No. 1, there was a good bit of Voodoo, parties galore, and beignets were mentioned whenever possible. Even so, I've read other books that were set in New Orleans where the city just took on a life of its own. It was as if the city were another character in the book, one with a significant role that couldn't be ignored. In the book, New Orleans felt like it was just a backdrop, and while it did add a bit of culture to the story, I do feel that more could have been done with it. 

 

I was also glad to see Amelia's relationship with Joshua take a back seat for a good bit of the story. Don't get me wrong - I love Joshua and I love him and Amelia together. Their romance consists of a few too many intense sighs and stares for my taste, but I do enjoy reading about it. But in this book, we get to see Amelia as an individual apart from Joshua. We get to see her try to figure out more about who she is, without the influence of a boyfriend. While the fate of Joshua and Amelia's relationship was definitely a big part of this book, I liked that Hudson spent a lot of time developing Amelia's story independently from it.

 

One thing that really bothered me was how Joshua's mom, Rebecca, reacted to Jillian's explanation of who Amelia is. It's a complete fabrication because Rebecca can't know that Amelia's a ghost. I don't want to give too much away - it's not super important, but it does happen toward the end of the story so I don't want to spoil anything. All I'll say on the subject is that I don't think that Rebecca asked enough questions or took the situation seriously enough. If I had a daughter who came to an adult with a similar story, I would hope that that adult would care enough to find out more information and contact the authorities if necessary. I think that Hudson ignored what I think any good mother would do in order to get Amelia back to Oklahoma without too many questions and get her inside the house. Frankly, Joshua and Jillian's parents are a bit too clueless/absentee to be realistic, in my opinion. This is typical of YA literature, but I do think that it's taking an easy way out and that it's poor technique/lazy writing.  

 

What happened to Amelia in this story was super cool, and I'm very excited to see where Hudson takes this development in the next book, Elegy. I don't know how soon I'll get around to reading Elegy - it's not on my list of books for this month, and while I ordinarily wouldn't be opposed to slipping an extra book on there, if you all remember from my May reading list post, I'm attempting to read 20 books month, so I don't really think it's realistic of me to expect to be able to add another one on there without getting behind. Then again, if I don't read Elegy ASAP, I either might not get to it, or I might forget parts of the story. So, yeah, I'm kind of undecided as to what to do about that. But let's just leave it at this - I enjoyed this book, would read it again, and I intend to continue the series. Fans of young adult paranormal romance would probably think it's pretty great. While this isn't a book that I would universally recommend, I do think that it's pretty awesome and think that it's worth looking into reading - but only after reading Hereafter