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Reviewed by Janelle Fila for Readers' Favorite
Beth Collins is a talented rock guitarist, but is having trouble holding it all together. Her boyfriend and band mate has disappeared, the latest victim in a slew of suspicious disappearances. But things change when she's accepted into a boarding school for talented musicians. She makes new friends, all of whom are incredibly gifted musically, but many seem to be hiding secrets of their own. Up until this point, the story is mostly contemporary. But here the book takes on a fantasy or paranormal feel. Beth starts worrying about her sanity as she sees black shadows that seem other worldly. The first one she notices when her brother is injured in an accident. It hovers near him as he clings to life. Beth sees these black swirly shadow-like things near someone who is about to die, which is creepy and frightens her. She wonders what her new friends will think when they find out. But Vincent and Xavier have their own secrets, too, secrets that really will threaten Beth's way of life when they get out.
Until Beth by Lisa Amowitz is a young adult fantasy that will appeal to readers of other genres (like contemporary fiction) as well as music lovers of all ages. This is a unique story in the fact that it blends contemporary fiction and fantasy, paranormal and music into a story about talents and secrets and friendship. It is also about loss and death, and deals with a lot of dark subject matter, but I think readers will understand that and enjoy this topic.