The novel is about a small town called Gatlin, South Carolina. Things in the town have been exactly the same since about the time of the Civil War, and outsiders are not welcomed. However, the novel opens just as the first "new girl" in forever is joining the sophomore class at the local high school. The new girl, Lena Duchennes, seems eerily different, and the mothers of the town band together to make her life miserable. It doesn't help Lena's case that she lives with her uncle, the town recluse.
Ethan Wate, a fellow sophomore who's sick of the town is the only one to befriend Lena, and he begins to learn the dark secrets of her family.
There were some things I liked about the book...Ethan and Lena's friendship develops through a series of shared dreams and visions, many of which taken them back in time to the Civil War era. I loved the historical references and thought it was a really unique addition to the plot.
Overall, though, the lack of originality and cumbersome number of pages were too much for me - I would not recommend this book, but I guess I'll have to read the rest of the series before I totally make my mind up.