Author: Rachel Wells
In Enchanted, by Rachel Wells, quiet, unassuming 17-year-old Mandy grew up in Boston, a city big enough that she could fade into the background without much notice, and that was how she preferred it. She spent her summers in York, Maine with her grandmother, but was happy to return to the city, study hard, and get good grades. Right before her senior year, however, her parents decided to move the whole family up to York, presumably to be closer to Nana. Mandy is not thrilled at the prospects of being the new girl during her last year of school or getting used to the small town life, but she gives it a shot anyway. She works in Nana’s flower shop, makes friends, and even goes on a date with the town’s hottest teenage boy commodity, Lucas. But Lucas isn’t all he’s cracked up to be, and in what has to be one of the most mature decisions by a YA character, Mandy decides to part ways with him and instead starts dating Steve. Unlike Lucas, Steve is down-to-earth, loyal, and typically the type of boy who is always stuck in “just friends” mode.
Moving and getting a boyfriend aren’t the only new developments in Mandy’s life- she’s also learning some strange things about her Nana and herself. It all begins with a secret found in an heirloom trunk that dates back several centuries. When Nana decides to right an old wrong, it is Mandy who suffers the repercussions.
Enchanted started out a little on the slow side, and while that kind of bothered me at first, in the end I felt that it made more sense in regards to the character of Mandy. Too many times, characters find out a secret about themselves that goes against everything they’ve ever believed, but less than a chapter later, they’ve not only accepted it, but completely mastered said secret. Mandy is also prone to over-reacting, and her character seemed a little younger than 17, but I have a really hard time judging what a normal teenager would be like since I grew up way too fast back then, so maybe she was fairly normal for her age. She’s a good character though because although she’s definitely not exactly outgoing at first, she’s also not a meek and timid wallflower.
I really enjoyed the way Wells intertwined the story from the past through a series of letters that Mandy found, and brought the mystery to the present through the descendents of the people in the letters. It can be hard to tell two stories at once, and I thought it was very well done in Enchanted. The writing style is smooth and flowing, and the descriptions of York were very well defined and compelling. I really enjoyed this book once the plot took off, and would recommend it to fans of YA paranormal stories.