Author: Molly Cochran
Genre: YA Paranormal
Publication Date: December 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover, 432 Pages
ISBN-10: 1442417390 (Simon & Schuster)
ISBN-13: 978-1442417397 (Simon & Schuster)
Reviewed By: Macie
When her widowed father dumps 16-year-old Katy Jessevar in a boarding school in Whitfield, Massachusetts, she has no idea that fate has just opened the door to both her future and her past. Nearly everyone in Whitfield is a witch, as is Katy herself, although she has struggled all her life to hide her unusual talents. Stuck at a boarding school where her fellow students seem to despise her, Katy soon discovers that Whitfield is the place where her mother commited suicide under mysterious circumstances when Katy was just a small child. With dark forces converging on Whitfield, it’s up to Katy to unravel her family’s many secrets to save the boy she loves and the town itself from destruction.
Quick and Dirty: Legacy had surprising depth and character development that kept me interested until the end.
Opening Sentence: I was sixteen years old when I discovered exactly who—and what—I was.
The novel starts with Katy arriving at her new boarding school after being uprooted from everything she knew after her dad gets married. If that isn’t troubling enough, she finds out that her mother’s family, who founded her new school, already has a reputation that she knows nothing about. Immediately I was interested in finding out just what happened to make the people of Whitfield so mistrusting of Katy. The reader finds out information about her family and past when Katy does, who grew up knowing almost nothing about her mother and existing family members. By revealing information to both the reader and the protagonist at the same time, the reader can then compare their own reaction with Katy’s, and have a deeper understanding of Katy, and the book itself.
The world of Whitfield is filled with strange rules that everyone except Katy seems to know. She notices a distinct group of students who stand out from the others because of their confidence and connection to each other. This is only the beginning of the secrets that Katy uncovers about the small Massachusetts town where everything is not always as it seems. Katy doesn’t feel any particular connection to anyone until she meets Peter Shaw. For a reason unknown to her, Peter hates her on sight. Katy can’t help but notice how attractive he is, and the author does well to not overdo his looks and creates a believable character. Katy doesn’t understand how he, and all the other students, could seem so likable to each other, but ignore her as if she has done something to deserve how she is treated. We get some foreshadowing that it may have to do with her long dead mother, but do not find out completely until later in the novel.
As the novel advances, Katy learns to accept the odd things that she encounters, and also learns more about herself. I think that is one of the things I really loved about this novel was how real the characters felt. Each one has depth that we may not readily see, and it enriches the story as the characters evolve and form relationships. I don’t want to give away too much because I think readers will benefit from finding out the secrets of Whitfield and the Ainsworth family on their own.
Time progresses, and Katy starts to feel more at home in Whitfield, but as any reader knows, tranquility does not lead to a great story. Dark forces, as ominous as that sounds, are at work, and Katy wants to find the source so she can help eradicate it. She uses her newly honed skills to look to the past to find answers that may help in the present. Katy is still considered an outsider, so she has to work hard to prove to her community that she can, and will, help them.
I have read some other reviews for Legacy, and the results are very mixed. I really did enjoy this novel, and not all of the claims that people are making about Legacy hold true with me. Some complain about the pacing, but I feel that we are living along side Katy. When something important happens, she describes it, but when time just passes in an ordinary fashion, there really is not much to say about it. Yes, Peter does go from hating Katy to liking her fairly quickly, but Katy says herself that Peter was a decent person to begin with, and I think he probably avoided her because he could not both hate her for what her mother did, and accept her for who she was until he realized that she really did not know about her mother’s past. She enters a fairly close knit community with no idea of what her mother has done, so there really is no reason for Peter to hate her unconditionally, especially after he gets to know her. This book does have realistic characters in a paranormal plot, so of course some things will be predictable. Life is fairly predictable, and it is normally the supernatural elements that are unexpected. Katy did not grow up in Whitfield or knowing about her abilities, so she has to come to terms fairly quickly or otherwise be isolated from the one place she might truly belong.
I could not find any information about subsequent novels following Katy’s story, but I believe that the ending leaves it open for the author to return to this world in the future, which I hope she does.
As a VP of public relations for Wonderland, Mim represented “the interests of Wonderland” up and down the East Coast. I’ll never know exactly how she met my father, but within days they were shacked up and some weeks later, Dad had I were on our way to New York to start our “new lives.” After years of teaching at a series of small Florida colleges, Dad had gotten an assistant professorship gig at Columbia. Major strings must have been pulled for that. And where there were major strings, there was Mim doing the pulling. It was during the plane ride up that Dad decided to let me in on his plans for my future.
“We . . . that is, I’ve found a school for you, Katherine.” Dad looked serious. Something in his voice made me shiver. He wouldn’t make eye contact. “Where is it?” I asked quietly, carefully.
He cleared his throat. “It’s a … it’s a boarding school, Katherine.”
“A boarding school?” I squeaked. “Where?’
“It’s a fine place, really—”
“But why do I have to live there? How far away is it from you? And her.”
A long moment passed. Too long. “It’s in Whitfield, Massachusetts,” he said finally. He looked out the window.
“I see,” I said.
“Let me explain.” He put his hand over mine. I yanked it away. “There are some things I never told you, Katherine. About your mother. And her family.”
FTC Advisory: Simon & Schuster provided me with a copy of Legacy. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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