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Reviewed by Rosie Malezer for Readers' Favorite
Hleo is the first book in the Hleo series by Rebecca Weller. Seventeen-year-old Hannah Reed helps her boss, Carmen, clean up East Halton’s clothing store, The Patch, at closing time. While checking that all stock had been removed from the change rooms, Hannah inadvertently walks in on semi-naked Ethan Flynn, who hadn’t realized the store had closed its doors for the night. Hannah is aghast when she discovers Ethan has just enrolled at her school, where she is about to complete her senior year. While the female students fruitlessly throw themselves at the handsome new student, Ethan only has eyes for Hannah. When unexplained attempts are suddenly made on her life, Hannah feels both relieved and uneasy that Ethan always seems to be there to save her. Then she witnesses him murder a man before her very eyes. While trying to flee, she learns that Ethan is no ordinary boy and that she is no ordinary girl. Hannah will soon make a decision that will either save or destroy the earth and Ethan has been sent to protect her at all costs. For he is a Hleo – one of the many supernatural bodyguards whose job it is to protect those who are exceptional. Hannah now needs to figure out what monumental action on her part will make such a difference to the future of mankind, while trying to rein in her feelings for Ethan and determining the role of another new face in town, Adam, whose smile lights up any room ... if she can survive the frequent assassination attempts on her life.
Wow. Just wow. Rebecca Weller’s incredibly imaginative and action-packed tale kept me hanging on every single word. Hleo is a total whirlwind of adventure and an emotional roller-coaster ride. The main character had lived a normal, ordinary life for seventeen years before being thrown into a life of danger, carnage and fear. Hannah’s determination to make sense of what is going on around her, especially in the middle of trying to find out who her biological parents are, is impressive. I very much enjoyed the special bonds within Hannah’s close friendship circle, with typical teenage girls wanting to know ‘all the goss’ every single time Hannah is seen with Ethan or Adam. Although the story is paranormal in nature, each of the characters is presented as realistic and easy to engage with. Hleo is, without a doubt, one of the best young adult fiction books I have ever read. I look forward to the next book in the series and recommend this book to readers who enjoy fast-paced action, adventure, humor and suspense in a romantic thriller.