Another paranormal teen romance, Beautiful Creatures, is a cut above the rest. With a Southern Gothic flavor and a male narrator, this novel had more to interest me than the average supernatural thriller.Ethan Wate, our narrator, is sixteen and has lived in Gatlin, South Carolina his whole life. Gatlin is everyone's stereotype of the small Southern town; Civil War obsessed, sports obsessed, conservative, with a hint of voodoo underlying it all. It's the first day of school and Ethan wakes from a strange dream about a gorgeous, green-eyed girl who is in some kind of trouble. Later that day he meets the new girl in town, Lena Duchannes, and recognizes her from his dream. The plot then follows the budding relationship between Lena and Ethan and his discovery of the sinister dark side of his hometown. Lena is not accepted by the majority of townspeople and Ethan chooses to turn his back on them and bond with Lena, who he learns has a secret. On her sixteenth birthday she'll participate in an incredible ceremony that will determine the path the rest of her life will take. I won't say more, but it involves a choice between light and dark. The chapters count down the days until her birthday and follow Ethan's and Lena's efforts to extrapolate her from this ritual. Essentially a classic tale of the struggle between good and evil, with a sweet romance thrown in, Beautiful Creatures is chock full of side-plots that enliven the novel and engaging characters that enhance its Southern flavor (including a character called Marian who is a librarian). My only irritation with the novel was that the authors tried to cram almost too much into this book and it therefore was much too long. I think it could have been chopped by about 100 pages and been just as effective. Also, the ending bordered on the ridiculous and nearly ruined the entire book for me. The writing was not as well-constructed as in the bulk of the book and it was almost laughable at times. Overall, I enjoyed this novel and I found it to be extremely readable. I'm not surprised that it ended up on several "Best Books of 2009" lists.