Personal Demons

Personal DemonsBy Lisa Desrochers

Publisher: Tor Teen
Publication Date: September 14, 2010
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Source: Publisher

Frannie Cavanaugh is a good Catholic girl with a bit of a wicked streak. She has spent years keeping everyone at a distance—even her closest friends—and it seems as if her senior year is going to be more of the same . . . until Luc Cain enrolls in her class. No one knows where he came from, but Frannie can’t seem to stay away from him.

What she doesn’t know is that Luc is on a mission. He’s been sent from Hell itself to claim Frannie’s soul. It should be easy—all he has to do is get her to sin, and Luc is as tempting as they come. Frannie doesn’t stand a chance. But he has to work fast, because if the infernals are after her, the celestials can’t be far behind. And sure enough, it’s not long before the angel Gabriel shows up, willing to do anything to keep Luc from getting what he came for. It isn’t long before they find themselves fighting for more than just Frannie’s soul.

But if Luc fails, there will be Hell to pay . . . for all of them.

Goodreads Summary

Luc (Lucifer, the real one), has been sent to tag Frannie Cavanaugh’s soul for Hell for reasons he doesn’t know or care to know.  He’s going to have to fight for it though, since his old nemesis Gabe (Gabriel, as in the angel) has shown up to tag her soul for Heaven, and he does know why.  All of this takes place in the middle of Hades High (as in Hell, nudge, nudge).  Yeah, there are a lot of those sorts of wink, wink moments and no, they really don’t ever get any less wincing, but once you know they’re coming, you just take your lumps and read over them.

Okay, Desrocher does do a little bit of the breathy romance stuff.  Rather than have Luc get all sparkly like Vampire Edward, she has Luc go sniffy.  He can tell what Frannie’s feeling by the way she smells.  Cinnamon means she wants to jump his bones, pepper (and I think licorice) means she’s ticked at him and chocolate means she loves him.  I can’t remember what grapefruit is, but it’s in there.  She’s a veritable bowl of Jelly Bellys.  And Gabe isn’t much better because he does glow when he’s getting beatific, but I give him a pass because he is an angel and that’s what they do, right?

Frannie’s a good Catholic girl, or sort of a good Catholic girl.  She was kicked out of her private school for the unthinkable, questioning whether there’s a God one time too many.  She had good reason: her twin was killed when he was seven and she blames herself and God and all these years later, hasn’t forgiven either.  Frannie is knocked for a loop when the gorgeous Luc starts pursuing her; she knows in her gut that he’s dangerous, although she keeps coming back to him anyway.  Her practically catatonic parents go ballistic when he shows up at her house.  Contrast that with the peace she feels when she’s with the equally beautiful Gabe and her parents stumbling over themselves in awe of him.  Mom even puts out the good china and invites him in for dinner.

You know where this is going by the mid-point of book, but it was still good enough that I was flipping through the pages in one sitting to see how it was going to get there.  There were negatives: some plot-holes, big plot threads dropped altogether and an occasional lack of focus.  I was especially unhappy with the decision, even to the extent that it was, to make Gabe part of some dating love triad with Frannie and Luc.  I got that in the context of the tug of war between good and evil that she would be divided between the two, but did it need to be expressed that way?  I didn’t think so and it bugged me.  It’s bad enough that this girl is questioning whether or not there’s a God, she’s blaming herself for her brother’s death, she has this awful “talent” that she can’t tell anyone about and frankly, she’s got a couple of the worst friends ever?  Now she has to feel like a horrible tramp because not only has she apparently left a string of boyfriends and wannabe regular boyfriends trailing after her, but now she’s lusting after two guys at once?  Why do that to your female lead?

What saved my sort of base score of 3.5 for this from being downgraded to a 3 for those points and had it elevated to a 4 was that I enjoyed the premise of the story.  I won’t spoil why Luc and Gabriel were sent for Frannie, since the true reason isn’t revealed until a bit into the book, but it was an interesting choice.  I liked Frannie and Gabriel and for the most part Luc, who was a little clichéd some of the time; she had some friends I’d have drop-kicked, so the author got points for making me care about them.  There were some moments that were genuinely touching and while there was some discussion of Christianity and belief, it didn’t go overboard.

The romance here managed to be somewhat sexy for there not being any actual sex.  There’s not a lot of bad language either and the violence is probably on the PG-13 side, pushing R at the end. The story was told in alternating first person between Luc and Frannie with the chapters labeled with their names to keep track. Side note: I’ve seen three different covers (granted, mine was an ARC, so it doesn’t count) and one is subtitled “Personal Demons 1”.

My Rating: B+


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