Review: Beckoning Light (The Afterglow Trilogy #1) by Alyssa Rose Ivy

Book Blurb

As Charlotte steps through the gate, she has a strong feeling that nothing will ever be the same again.

Moving back to South Carolina after three years away, Charlotte knows she's going to have to face people from her past and adjust to a new high school, but she's completely unprepared for what else waits for her in Charleston.

Drawn through an old garden gate, Charlotte discovers a hidden world where she meets Calvin, a boy to whom she is inexplicably attracted. As Charlotte is pulled deeper into this hidden world, it's up to her older brother Kevin to rescue her. No matter how hard Kevin tries, the rescue depends upon Charlotte fighting her intense feelings for Calvin while mastering a set of abilities that she has only just discovered she possesses.

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Toot's Review by Stacy Sabala

Charlotte and Kevin are moving back to Charleston while their dad continues his research in the artic.  They left three years ago and Charlotte is nervous about going back.  She is afraid to see her brother’s friend and her past crush, Liam.  She kissed him last time she saw him and she is mortified thinking about it.  Plus she isn’t very good with social situations and she isn’t looking forward to starting school.
Kevin is worried about Charlotte.  This is his last year in high school.  He wants her settled and happy before he leaves for college.  He enlists Liam’s help to watch over her and help her to fit in.
Charlotte is trying and starts making friends.  The first one she makes is James who is in her English Class.  He volunteers to be her partner for an assignment.  He makes her a bit nervous but she is trying to be social.  She is also dealing with memories of her mother.  She was afraid to come back to Charleston for that reason.  The pain is still there and very strong.  She misses her terribly. 
Memories of her mother and the garden gate become clearer.  Charlotte goes searching for the key.  When she finds it among her mother’s things, a new world opened to her.  She meets Calvin.  They are instantly drawn to each other.  They spend as much time together before he has to leave for duty.
After he leaves Charlotte notices a light shining at the gate.  Thinking it might be Calvin she goes to check it out.  The person she finds surprises her.  As she enters the gate her life is forever changed.  She has to embrace her destiny as those around her are either trying to use her or protect her.
I really liked this book.  Charlotte is so shy and sheltered.  She has lost her mother and her father seems withdrawn.  Her character has also.  Her anxiety over everything is present on every page.  Her brother comes off as a jerk and self-centered.  Liam seems more concerned and in-tune to what Charlotte is going through.

When the gate becomes a part of the story everything changes.  The author creates this other world that takes Charlotte and Kevin by surprise.  They have absolutely no clue who their mother was or what her life entailed.  It was shocking for them and sad at the same time.  Then Charlotte’s naivety gets her into situations where she is easily manipulated.  I hated reading how things were playing out.  It was frustrating to see Charlotte go along too afraid to ask questions.  When she finally took charge and started asking questions, the story took a turning point for me.  I needed to see her take control and stop being a puppet.  The ending was understandable and setting up for book two.  It was a good read with a big paranormal twist.  I give it a 4 out of 5.

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