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Ethan Wate is struggling to hide his apathy for his high school "in" crowd in small town Gatlin, South Carolina, until he meets the determinedly "out" Lena Duchannes, the girl of his dreams (literally--she has been in his nightmares for months). What follows is a smart, modern fantasy--a tale of star-crossed lovers and a dark, dangerous secret.Beautiful Creaturesis a delicious southern Gothic that charms you from the first page, drawing you into a dark world of magic and mystery until you emerge gasping and blinking, wondering what happened to the last few hours (and how many more you're willing to give up). To tell too much of the plot would spoil the thrill of discovery, and believe me, you will want to uncover the secrets of this richly imagined dark fantasy on your own. --Daphne Durham

Amazon Exclusive Interview with Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, Authors of Beautiful Creatures

What does your writing process look like? Is it tough to write a book together? Did you ever have any knock-down drag-out fights over a plot point or character trait?

Margie: The best way to describe our writing process is like a running stitch. We don't write separate chapters, or characters. We pass the draft back and forth constantly, and we actually write over each other's work, until we get to the point where we truly don't know who has written what.

Kami: By the end of the book, we don't even know. The classic example is when I said, "Marg, I really hate that line. It has to go." And she said, "Cut it. You wrote it."

Margie: I think we were friends for so long before we were writing partners that there was an unusual amount of trust from the start.

Kami: It's about respect. And it helps that we can't remember when who wrote the bad line.

Margie: We save our big fights for the important things, like the lack of ice in my house or how cold our office is. And why none of my YouTube videos are as popular as the one of Kami's three-fingered typing…okay, that one is understandable, given the page count for "Beautiful Creatures."

Kami: What can I say? I was saving the other seven fingers for the sequel.

What kinds of books do you like to read?

Kami: I read almost exclusively Young Adult fiction, with some Middle Grade fiction thrown in for good measure. As a Reading Specialist, I work with children and teens in grades K-12, so basically I read what they read.

Margie: When I write it comes from the same place as when I read: wanting to hang out with fictional characters in fictional worlds. I identify more as a reader than a writer; I just have to write it first so I can read it.

What books/authors have inspired you?

Kami: "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee, "A Good Man is Hard to Find & Other Stories" by Flannery O'Connor, "Fahrenheit 451" by Ray Bradbury and "The Witching Hour" by Anne Rice. I also love Pablo Neruda.

Margie: I think Harper Lee is the greatest writer alive today. Eudora Welty is my other Southern writer kindred; I was obsessed with her in grad school. Susan Cooper and Diana Wynne Jones made me love fantasy, and my favorite poets are Emily Dickinson (at Amherst College, I even lived on her street) and Stevie Smith.

Did you set out to write fiction for young adults? Why?

Kami: We actually wrote "Beautiful Creatures" on a dare from some of the teen readers in our lives.

Margie: Not so much readers as bosses.

Kami: Looking back, we wrote it sort of like the serialized fiction of Charles Dickens, turning in pages to our teen readers every week.

Margie: And by week she means day.

Kami: When we were getting texts in the middle of the night from teens demanding more pages, we knew we had to finish.

Margie: As it says in our acknowledgements, their asking what happened next changed what happened next. Teens are so authentic. That's probably why we love YA. Even when it's fantasy, it's the emotional truth.

A lot of us voracious readers like to cast a book after reading it. Did you guys have a shared view of who your characters are? Did each of you take a different character to develop, or did you share every aspect?

Kami: We've never cast our characters, but we definitely know what they look like. Sometimes we see actors in magazines and say, "Lena just wore that!"

Margie: We create all our characters together, but after a point they became as real as any of the other people we know. We forget they're not.

Kami: I never thought of it like that. I guess we do spend all our time talking about imaginary people. Margie: So long as it's not to them…

Did you always plan to start the book with Ethan's story? Why?

Kami: We knew before we started that we wanted to write from a boy's point of view. Margie and I both have brothers—-six, between us-—so it wasn't a stretch. It's an interesting experience to fall in love with the guy telling the story rather than the guy the story is about.

Margie: We do kind of love Ethan, so we wanted there to be more to him than just the boy from boy meets girl.

Kami: He's the guy who stands by you at all costs and accepts you for who you are, even if you aren't quite sure who that is.

What is on your nightstand now?

Kami: I have a huge stack, but here are ones at the top: "Mama Dip's Kitchen," a cookbook by Mildred Council, "The Demon's Lexicon" by Sarah Rees Brennan, "Shadowed Summer" by Saundra Mitchell, "Rampant" by Diana Peterfreund, and an Advanced Reader Copy of "Sisters Red" by Jackson Pearce.

Margie: I have Robin McKinley's "Beauty," Maggie Stiefvater's "Ballad," Kristen Cashore's "Fire," Libba Bray's "Going Bovine," and "Everything Is Fine" by AnnDee Ellis. And now I'm mad because I know a) Kami stole my "Rampant" and b) didn't tell me she has "Sisters Red"!

What is your idea of comfort reading?

Kami: If given the choice, I'll always reach for a paranormal romance or an urban fantasy. I also re-read my favorite books over and over.

Margie: It's all comfort reading to me. I sleep with books in my bed. Like a dog, only without the shedding and the smelling.

Have you written the next book already? What's next for Lena and Ethan?

Margie: We are revising the next book now. I don't want to give too much away, but summer in Gatlin isn't always a vacation.

Kami: I would describe book two as intense and emotional. For Ethan and Lena, the stakes are even higher.

Margie: That's true. Book two involves true love, broken hearts, the Seventeenth Moon, and cream-of-grief casseroles…

Kami: Gatlin at it's finest!

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Details

ISBN-10:  0316042676
ISBN-13:  978-0316042673
Author:  Kami Garcia
Genre:  Teens
Publisher:  Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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review by . December 29, 2010
I have mixed feelings about this book. I'll start with the positive. The story was very unique and compelling, there were a lot of wonderful background characters, the setting was great. My favorite aspect of Beautiful Creatures was the dark and mysterious southern gothic feel to it, the scenery, the overall "feel" of the south was beautifully expressed in every chapter. Both the mysterious air of the cypress and magnolia filled landscape as well as the small town snobbish nature of …
review by . August 06, 2010
Review: Beautiful Creatures is a lovely debut, and a great example of two authors working together almost seamlessly.    Ethan's voice is very impressive, and I'm in shock at how well Stohl and Garcia write together. At times I almost forgot that two authors even wrote BC.     The story all starts when Lena moves to town, but it doesn't really get going until Lena and Ethan start hanging out and slowly become friends. Everything gets interesting when the town …
review by . May 07, 2010
With the recent influx of young adult fiction that centers around romance and the supernatural it's hard to know which book to grab first, this was a decent read but nothing that stands out from the pack. Those who rarely read will probably enjoy it more than people who pick this genre all the time rather than readers who read a lot in general. This book is perfect for young teens but older readers ( 20 and up) might feel a bit babied, I certainly felt that it read like an ultra light version of …
review by . May 05, 2010
Beautiful Creatures was a very addictive read. I truly enjoyed reading through Ethan's point-of-view. I found it very refreshing considering that most YA is written through a females perspective.    I was taken in by the star-crossed lover-esque feel of the story... girl is a Caster - boy is just a mere human. What will they do? I enjoyed the Southern feel of the story - as you read it you can hear that southern drawl. The setting was well-defined and very fitting to the story. …
review by . February 06, 2010
PJV's Quickie POV: Beautiful Creatures paints a captivating picture of young love and heart-break that had me engrossed from the beginning. The tone is rich and wet and full of southern elegance. While not the best YA novel I've read all year, it did live up to the hype. Very much enjoyed this book and you definitely should mark this as a must read if you haven't already.    Review: Ethan Wate is stuck in a world that he desperately wants to be rid of. The world is Gaitlan, small-town, …
review by . January 31, 2010
Ethan Wate has been counting down the months until he can escape small town Gatlin and the thinking that goes along with it. He hates that everyone knows everyone else's business and that the only thing to look forward to each year is a Civil War reenactment. But everything changes when Lena Duchannes moves to town. From the start, Lena doesn't fit in, and from the first time Ethan sees her, he knows that he shares a connection with this unusual girl. But the closer the two get, the closer Lena's …
review by . December 08, 2009
Only two kinds of people live in Gatlin, South Carolina: the stupid and the stuck. The others move on to better places. The Wates live there because they always have. They live there even though recent years have brought the family more bad memories than good.    Ethan Wate isn't stupid and he has no intention of being stuck. Gatlin isn't a complicated place. The neighbors keep watch from their porches in the unbearable heat, but nothing ever changes because there are no surprises …
review by . December 06, 2009
Beautiful Creatures encompasses a variety of things from a historic small southern town, to some great family stories to a romance to the supernatural. I would say my favorite things about the book were the setting and history, and Lena's family.    There is a passage in the book that describes the town preparing for their Civil War reenactment that I really enjoyed. I love learning the rich history of old towns and seeing a community come together over something. I also loved …
review by . November 02, 2009
Gatlin County, South Carolina is perhaps the dullest place on Earth, and Ethan Wate cannot wait to get out it. To him, it's as familiar and ordinary as a shoe. But then Lena Duchanes arrives to stay with her uncle Macon Ravenwood, the town's shut-in, and her uniqueness is met with opposition. But Ethan feels as if he knows her, and knows they have an inexplicable connection. It's as he and Lena grow closer that Ethan discovers that Gatlin is harboring a lot of secrets, and that by getting involved …
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