“Beautiful Decay” Sylvia Lewis

ARC (Advance Reading Copy). To be published April 2, 2013, Running Press Teens. 303 pp.

Beautiful DecayHere I am in chilly and rainy Seattle for the ALA’s (American Library Association’s) 2013 Midwinter Meeting. Yesterday was my first chance to go to the Exhibit Hall and get a bunch of ARC’s. So far, I’ve mailed 3 boxes of them home to myself.

“Beautiful Decay” was the first ARC in the bunch that I kept to read, and it was a-ma-zing! Ellie has an unusual gift. Everything she touches turns to mold, a beautiful, colorful type complete with mushrooms. Because of this, she spends her life hiding from people and wearing gloves, fearful of causing sickness and death. Her own mother is terrified of her, constantly washing the house with bleach and avoiding her, while her father is never home. Having a normal high school life is impossible, especially with being called nicknames like “Typhoid Mary,” and having her classmates and teachers avoid her at all costs. Her only friend is Mackenzie, a person she met online.

When Nate, a new student, comes to school he seems to immediately have a connection with Ellie. He’s not afraid of being hurt by her mold-producing touch, and seems to actually like her. Ellie is confused, but her confusion knows no bounds when Nate admits to being a Necromancer. He can raise the dead, and even has a zombie mother as proof. Ellie is curious about her power, especially when she finds out there are more people like her out in the world. Unfortunately, a group of Necromancers aren’t happy Nate won’t use his powers for their pleasure and have been hunting him down. A battle between good and evil is brewing. Nate, Ellie and Mackenzie some find themselves smack in the middle of the action.

I had just started reading “Beautiful Decay” last night, but found it so compelling I couldn’t put it down. Readers, ages 14 and up will be just as spellbound. Its ending was a bit open ended, so I won’t be surprised if Lewis has a sequel planned.


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