Author: Hilary Duff
Published: Simon & Schuster, 2010
Cover Score: B+
Overall Grade: A
17-year-old Clea Raymond is used to living in the public eye. The daughter of a famed surgeon and a renowned politician, Clea herself has become a talented photojournalist, traveling the world. But after Clea's dad disappears on a humanitarian mission, Clea starts to notice an eerie, shadowy man show up in all of her pictures. Who is this man? Why is he so prominent in her work? How did she not notice before? When fate brings the two together, Clea realizes they have a deeper, dangerous connection that spans centuries...and that the man might know a key fact involving the truth behind her father's disappearance.
My thoughts: I was so pleasantly surprised by Elixir. Normally, I don't even bother picking up a celebrity-written book, but I had read reviews praising Hilary Duff's debut into YA fiction, and I couldn't resist (I admit, I was also a Lizzie McGuire freak as a kid).
Elixir is just stunning. From page one, I was sucked into the vortex of Clea's life. The plot evolved with every chapter, from a mystery to a romance to a heart-pounding thriller. This also caused a bit of confusion for me: the beginning of the novel starts out with the mystery of the man in Clea's photos, and then evolves into the mystery behind her father's disappearance, the mystery of who Sage really is, the mystery of what the Elixir of Life is, and--the most important--how they all link together, which is where I got tripped up.
Each character is beautifully done-out, and the jet-setting action is intriguing. I loved Clea's narration: I was enthralled with her story (I felt I could really get into her head), madly flipping pages until the cliffhanging ending. Good thing Ms. Duff's started work on the sequel, which will hopefully tie up loose ends!
Well-written and fast-paced, Elixir will please multiple categories of fans: fans of ages-old romance (think Lauren Kate's Fallen), fans of dark paranormal stories, and fans of running-down-the-clock mysteries.