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Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

*The Splendor Falls* by Rosemary Clement-Moore- young adult book review  
The Splendor Falls
by Rosemary Clement-Moore
Grades 10+ 528 pages Delacorte September 2009 Hardcover    

In the world of New York’s high society—determined decadence, monetary splendor and dysfunctional parenting—Sylvie Davis is a true success and rising star. At seventeen, her career as a prima ballerina in one of America’s most prestigious ballet companies is already established. Her G.E.D. is a done deal. In terms of her financial stability, well, the inheritance her father left her upon his death could be mildly called a comfortable small fortune.

In the world of ballerinas, it takes but a small, seemingly inconsequential break to shatter the fragile glass world to irreparable pieces. The same could be said for those hoping to survive high society. Both worlds shatter for Sylvie the day she lands wrong upon the stage and breaks her leg. Dancing will never be her world again, and high society is not a place for stars that no longer shine.

After an honest accident has her mother and new stepfather claiming she is mentally fragile in her state of depression, Sylvie is shipped off to a remote small town in Alabama, the home of her ancestors. The history of her family is rich with ghosts and witchcraft, but she is unaware of anything about the Davis heritage because her father never spoke of his family—or his past. Maybe it was even worse than that—she never cared to ask? Perhaps the previous lack of interest will be a stepping-stone to new direction and maturity in her life.

Sylvie is not an unkind or terribly selfish person, just spoiled - raised in an only-child, prima-ballerina, work-first, money-inconsequential, take-care-of-herself, high-society way. Her aunt’s Southern hospitality and overwhelming demands that she always eat, befriend the local popular high school group, and leave her little dog outside is pushing her out of joint. She is not conscientiously trying to be a difficult guest; she just wants to be left alone—like that’s going to happen.

Rhys is also a guest at the house, a very good-looking guest who also happens to be very mysterious. While Sylvie is attracted to him, but also drawn to him in ways she cannot explain. His activities in the area—and the way he zigzags in his behavior with her—are puzzles she wants to solve. Then there is Shawn Maddox; a good looker with all the right credentials, the influential family presence in the town, and the wealth to be a great match for a Davis like Sylvie. So what is it about Shawn and his group of friends that has Sylvie so sure he is bad in all the wrong ways?

Sylvie was sent to Alabama to be protected, but she finds more than history in the house of her ancestors—she finds the truest version of herself. The timing is impeccable: her newfound revelations and talents will be required to fight an evil far greater than she may be ready to face. If she fails, more than anyone could possibly imagine will suffer at the hands of her enemy.

Clement-Moore, author of Prom Dates from Hell, follows that success with another great teen novel. "Girl power" is the name of the game in The Splendor Falls, and the theme is amply empowered. This well written, entertaining novel is sure to please readers from pre-teen to adult.

A real plus to be acknowledged—and praise should be given to Clement-Moore—is that the most risqué the storyline gets is a make-out session in a dark forest. While no one expects our youth to be prudes, it's refreshing to read a novel that tailors these risqué elements appropriately to the age level of the readers. Clement-Moore also wins with the independent character of her protagonist, easily identifying her attraction to the opposite sex but not blindly falling prey to a handsome face, pretty words, and the suggestions of “friends.”
Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

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