Phoebe finds herself drawn to Mallory, the strange and secretive new kid in school, and the two girls become as close as sisters . . . until Mallory's magnetic older brother, Ryland, shows up during their junior year. Ryland has an immediate, exciting hold on Phoebe, but a dangerous hold, for she begins to question her feelings about her best friend and, worse, about herself. Soon she'll discover the shocking truth about Ryland and Mallory: that these two are visitors from the faerie realm who have come to collect on an age-old debt. Generations ago, the faerie queen promised Phoebe's ancestor five extraordinary sons in exchange for the sacrifice of one ordinary female heir. But in hundreds of years there hasn't been a single ordinary girl in the family, and now the faeries are dying. Could Phoebe be the first ordinary one? Could she save the faeries, or is she special enough to save herself?(From Goodreads)
This was an audio book that I borrowed from the library. It had numerous narrators all of whom did a great job except for Ryland. He had one voice in Faerie and another outside of Faerie. I don't know if the one outside of Faerie was supposed to sound sexy or what but it just made me think of a man who smoked too much and didn't bathe very often. The rest of the voices were perfect for their parts. This ran 9 hours 22minutes and 26 seconds. But it didn't seem that long.
The beginning of the audio starts with Phoebe and her friends staring at the new girl and going on about her clothes. She seems to be wearing a tattered old yellow fairy costume that's lost it's glow and she's standing in the sunlight so that you can see right through it and she's not wearing underwear. Phoebe is mortified for her and begins to take Mallory under her wing. She's a Rothschild after all. They have money and a need to help. When she gets Mallory home and finds her mother to be slightly mentally ill, she takes her under her wing too and knows her mother will know what to do. Home health aides are called in, medicine is given and Mrs. Toliver is made better. Mallory has clothes and she even has a room in the Rothschild house that she calls her own.
Four years, life goes on like this and the girls are the best of friends. Then, Phoebe learns that Mallory has a brother and he is coming home. She is astounded and upset that Mallory has never spoken of him, but she forgives her. She's always forgiving people. And when she starts a relationship with Ryland and he asks her to keep it secret from Mallory she does.
My problem with this story is, for the most part, it's just a story. There is absolutely no character growth on the part of Phoebe until the very last few pages of the book or the last 10 minutes of the story. She is abused emotionally by Ryland and Mallory and she takes it. She is practically raped by Ryland and then lets him tell her there is obviously something wrong with her when she is repulsed by him again and again. When she finally gets the guts to do something about it, it's too late. She's already lost herself in their lies and allowed them to belittle her. Her mother lies in a coma in a hospital bed because of the faeries and she doesn't know if her mother will live or die. Her father is lost without her mother and she is lost without either of them. I guess most of the story was the undermining of Phoebe's self confidence. How Mallory and Ryland went about knocking it down. They did a really good job at it. And in the end, she's right where the faeries want her. Ready to sacrifice herself for them. Ready to die so that they may live and her mother, too.
There were so many times in the book she could have guessed what Mallory and Ryland were. Ryland, besides being despicable, would tell her she "didn't really need those cookies did she?" an underhanded way of saying she was fat. And then Phoebe would make excuses saying well, "I am fat. I do need to lose weight." Ladies, when you start making excuses like that RUN as fast as you can in the other direction. He's bad with a capital B. But, her self confidence had already been undermined enough that she didn't believe in herself anymore.
In all, it was entertaining. I wondered about the ending and how Werlin would make it all work out or if she'd just let Phoebe die. I won't tell you how it ends. The story moves along quickly. You can see the little house on Nantucket, Benjamin, her friend on Nantucket that she goes birding with. The descriptions are terrific, not wordy, but very specific. But, when my character grows up in the last few pages of the book, it isn't enough for me. I understand it was central to the story line, but it wasn't enough.
There are a few references to sex, but that's about it. I'd say 13 and up would be just fine with this book.