Creatura by Nely Cab
Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing (2015)
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A young girl living in Los Fresnos, Texas, whose loss of control over her dreams sets her on a long journey to discover how hundreds of years of history between gods and humans will turn her life upside down in the first book of this paranormal young adult series.

Isis Martin, a high school junior just starting to think about college plans, is living with her single mother Claire, who separated from her father just before his death. Her biggest problems are her recent breakup with her first love Gabriel and her lack of sleep, the latter of which is caused by a recurring nightmare in which a terrifying and mysterious creature that returns every night to threaten her.

Frustrated with the nightmare, Isis confronts the creature, who surprises her by questioning why she has intruded on his realm. He teaches her about a history between humans and gods that she doesn’t want to believe – until he forces her to by proving himself to be real by showing up at her high school.

Everyone is intrigued by the mysterious and alluring new student, David, but Isis is more intent on getting away from him and his disturbing past. He, on the other hand, is hell-bent on figuring out how a typical girl can intrude on the divine realm in her sleep. David works against the prejudices built by hundreds of years of complicated and bloody history between the mortals and gods to try and understand Isis.

As David and Isis work together to figure out what her dreams mean, they are impeded by his meddling family, her well-meaning but nosy mom, and her ex, Gabriel, popping up at an inopportune time.

Cab’s first novel in her series has some of the expected elements in a typical teen paranormal romance and a few unpredictable developments. Her overarching plot about the long history between Greek gods and humans cleverly adds a new and unique twist to a familiar paranormal narrative.

Cab’s main character, Isis, shows herself to be tough and an independent thinker early on in the novel, which makes her an easy character readers will easily identify with. But, as is common with teen paranormal romance, the roles of the characters are clearly defined. Nevertheless, their romantic narrative has a sweet nature and more than a few affectionate moments that readers will appreciate.

An unexpected delight of the novel was the wonderful relationship between Isis and her mother, Claire. They have an amazing amount of care and adoration for each other, but they also treat each other with mutual respect and friendly nature of two gals helping each other sort through their complicated romances. The interactions between Isis and Claire provide entertaining reprieve from the rest of the plot.

Overall, Cab uses traditional romantic narratives to appeal to avid paranormal readers, and she makes it stand out by developing an entertaining history between divine beings and mortals.

This is our pick for young readers experiencing “Twilight” withdrawals and hungering to get their hands on a unique take on a familiar struggle between two lovers plagued by forces beyond their control.