One month into her junior year, sixteen-year-old Violet McKenna transfers to the Winterhaven School in New York’s Hudson Valley, inexplicably drawn to the boarding school with high hopes. Leaving Atlanta behind, she’s looking forward to a fresh start–a new school, and new classmates who will not know her deepest, darkest secret, the one she’s tried to hide all her life: strange, foreboding visions of the future.
But Winterhaven has secrets of its own, secrets that run far deeper than Violet’s. Everyone there–every student, every teacher–has psychic abilities, ‘gifts and talents,’ they like to call them. Once the initial shock of discovery wears off, Violet realizes that the school is a safe haven for people like her. Soon, Violet has a new circle of friends, a new life, and maybe even a boyfriend–Aidan Gray, perhaps the smartest, hottest guy at Winterhaven.
Only there’s more to Aidan than meets the eye–much, much more. And once she learns the horrible truth, there’s no turning back from her destiny. Their destiny. Together, Violet and Aidan must face a common enemy–if only they can do so without destroying each other first. – Goodreads
I feel like Haven had the potential to be very awesome, but a good portion of it was just too familiar for me to completely enjoy the book. I’ve come to expect at least a certain degree of predictability in YA, but I also look forward to seeing how authors can make familiar tropes seem fresh in their story. Unfortunately, Haven had my undivided attention for quite some time. It was easy to find myself comparing certain storylines and characters to some I’ve previously encountered in other works.
The relationship between Violet and Aidan, while reminiscent of Edward and Bella (one of my favorite couples), didn’t quite click for me in the same way. Their relationship felt rushed, and yet I failed to feel any real urgency or heat between the two. The twist in their relationship would have been interesting…had it not played a major role on a certain TV show months before. Plus, the attempt of explanation for it felt weak. It was difficult to warm up to the characters on their own, too. The Aidan effect failed to dazzle me and Violet felt very immature; I never got a real sense of growth from her. The Sabbat storyline was a turning point, but it was only introduced halfway through the book and, even then, not fully explored. I guess there’s always a sequel?
The ending felt abrupt. The “big bad” was also only introduced towards the end, but there was a buildup to his arrival so I expected an epic showdown. It was all over within a page or so – I actually looked back to make sure I hadn’t accidentally skipped over some pages in between. Very anti-climatic.
There were parts of the book that I did enjoy – I did, after all, speed through it pretty quickly – and I’m curious enough to maybe pick up future sequels but, ultimately, the execution of Haven just didn’t work for me.