Synopsis from Goodreads: As Charlotte steps through the gate, she has a strong feeling that nothing will ever be the same again.
Moving back to South Carolina after three years away, Charlotte knows she’s going to have to face people from her past and adjust to a new high school, but she’s completely unprepared for what else waits for her in Charleston.
Drawn through an old garden gate, Charlotte discovers a hidden world where she meets Calvin, a boy to whom she is inexplicably attracted. As Charlotte is pulled deeper into this hidden world, it’s up to her older brother Kevin to rescue her. No matter how hard Kevin tries, the rescue depends upon Charlotte fighting her intense feelings for Calvin while mastering a set of abilities that she has only just discovered she possesses.
Source: Author for a fair and honest review
My Rating: 4/5 stars
My Review: After three years in Alaska, Charlotte Calloway and her older brother Kevin are moving back to their ancestral home in Charleston. As usual, Kevin is relaxed and ready for the adventure while Charlotte, ever the social recluse, is anxious and uncertain. You see, despite her brother’s best efforts and intentions Charlotte has never quite felt that she belongs anywhere. Things are about to change in Charlotte and Kevin’s world. And so, the real story begins . . . .
While Kevin begins to fall seamlessly back into life in Charleston with school, basketball, and friends, Charlotte struggles. Being back in Charleston brings back a flood of memories for Charlotte especially those related to her dead mother. Solace is found in the one place her mother loved beyond all others, the lush and verdant garden behind the family home. Growing up, Charlotte loved the garden as much as her mother but was always warned to never, ever go through the iron gate at the back of property. Mother’s warning had always been headed until one night Charlotte notices a bright light near the gate and in an instant Charlotte’s decision is made and her life is irrevocably changed forever.
Beyond the boundary of the gate is Energo, quite literally a whole new world that Charlotte neither understands nor completely believes. That is, until she meets Calvin, her one true mate and the man destined to walk by her side for all eternity. What?? Let’s add to this the fact that while in Energo Charlotte also discovers she is a very precious and powerful entity that is coveted by all. Holy cats! In a heartbeat, Charlotte goes from being a socially awkward teenager to finding her soul mate and discovering some immensely powerful (and nifty) new talents. Whew! No wonder her mother warned her never to go through that gate! For a short time, the secret of Calvin and Energo is all Charlotte’s and she is blissfully happy with this arrangement. And then she is kidnapped.
Well crap! From this moment on the family secrets begin to spill out all over the place and Charlotte’s safety and rescue becomes the ultimate priority for Kevin, his best friend Liam, and the kid’s uncle, Monty. The rescue party launches itself into Energo with the sole purpose of rescuing Charlotte. The problems? 1) How do you separate a young girl from her soul mate? 2) How do a handful of people breach the walls of a virtually impenetrable castle? and 3) What if Charlotte doesn’t want to leave? From the moment the rescuers enter Energo the story unfolds at a lightning pace. Action is mixed beautifully with background information, each major character really begins to develop, and the ride is worth it! Ivy’s writing style is smooth and easy, the plot flows, and the action and limited romance are absolutely appropriate.
The bottom line: this first part of the Afterglow Trilogy is a fantastic young adult read. The story is gripping, the characters are relatable, and the cliff hanger is tantalizing. I am certain I will be diving into book two, Perilous Light, at the earliest available moment!