Arden Reviews: Soulmated by Shaila Patel

img_1824Book: Soutmated

Author: Shaila Patel

Genre: Young adult, paranormal

Basic Description: Two souls. One Fate.

Eighteen-year-old Liam Whelan, an Irish royal empath, has been searching for his elusive soulmate. The rare union will cement his family’s standing in empath politics and afford the couple legendary powers, while also making them targets of those seeking to oust them.

Laxshmi Kapadia, an Indian-American high school student from a traditional family, faces her mother’s ultimatum: graduate early and go to medical school, or commit to an arranged marriage.

When Liam moves next door to Laxshmi, he’s immediately and inexplicably drawn to her. In Liam, Laxshmi envisions a future with the freedom to follow her heart.

Liam’s father isn’t convinced Laxshmi is “The One” and Laxshmi’s mother won’t even let her talk to their handsome new neighbor. Will Liam and Laxshmi defy expectations and embrace a shared destiny? Or is the risk of choosing one’s own fate too great a price for the soulmated?

Arden’s Thoughts: I have a special place in my heart for young adult fiction. My first memories of really having relationships with books revolve around young adult books. From Superfudge to Are You There, God? It’s Me. Margaret. Judy Blume taught me so. many. lessons. The Sweet Valley Twins and Babysitters Club made me want a twin sister and made babysitting seem cool. Young adult books lead many of us through our teen years in ways our friends and family cannot.

I’m rather protective of young adult books. I believe in their power to define their readers.

So, when I came across Patel’s first novel, SoulmatedI was excited… and nervous. I wanted to really like it because I know what it’s like to pour yourself into words and await the world’s reaction.

Y’all. I not only liked her story; I loved it. I’m not normally into paranormal fiction but I loved the ease in which Patel weaves the mystery of Liam and Laxshmi’s supernatural gifts into the foray of young love. Are the tingles magic or hormones? Isn’t first love a little like magic? And, why can’t anyone just let the kids figure out what works for them?

The issues of controlling parents, unknown futures, and confusing adult issues allow a variety of readers to find an area in which they can relate to each character. To me, that’s key to engaging our most finicky of audiences: teenagers. The writing needs to be smart and the story needs to have purpose.

Soulmated easily has both smarts and purpose. It’s the first in a series and I’m already anxiously awaiting the next chapter in the lives of Liam and Lucky. Get this one now, folks. You’ll be glad you did.

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