Saturday Read: Elixir by Hilary Duff

Hilary Duff wrote a book. Yes, not only does she sing, act, design clothe,s and generally rule the world, she has also decided to write books. That is a business-savvy girl if I’ve ever seen one. Total marketing genius. I was a bit hesitant when I picked this one up – even if her book was garbage, it would still get published and be a hot-seller, just based on her name. Despite my skepticism, I’ve decided that this year I’m going to be more open-minded when it comes to books and read something just because I think it looks/sounds good. And I am WAY too curious to see if Hilary Duff really can do it all.

“Elixir” is a teen fiction and is the story of Clea Raymond, a successful teen photo-journalist (yes, unlikely) and daughter of a famous senator. Her surgeon father has mysteriously gone missing in Brazil on a humanitarian mission and assumed to be dead and Clea is still coping with the loss. The book begins when she is in Paris with her best friend, Rayna. At the end of their trip, there is a fire in a building where Rayna is and Clea spots a strange man lurking around the scene. Rayna is unharmed in the fire and Clea is so distracted by her that she forgets about the man. However, when they return home, Clea takes a look at her pictures and notices that in each one, the strange man from the fire appears. Clea is shocked and finally shares this secret with her friend/bodyguard, Ben. But to Clea’s surprise, Ben isn’t shocked. It turns out that this mystery man has been showing up in photos long before this most recent trip: he’s been in photos of Clea since she was born. And Clea’s father has been trying to figure this out ever since. His search led him to the mythical Elixir of Life and it may be the missing link in his disappearance. This new discovery leads Clea and Ben on a journey to Brazil, to hopefully solve the mystery of his disappearance and also figure out who this man is and how he is linked to Clea.

I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by this one. Sure, paranormal teen fiction is having a bit of a moment right now thanks to Twilight, but I still liked the story and found it to be fairly unique. The character of Clea reminded me a lot of Hilary Duff: driven, determined, employed from a young age, etc. But she was well-developed and didn’t do anything shocking or out of character. And I also loved the chemistry between Ben and Clea. Sure, predictable, but he was a super cute, caring boy and made me go “Aww” more than once.

And the story. I almost hate to admit it, but I actually enjoyed this one. I really didn’t solve the mystery and it threw you for a couple unexpected loops! Sure, she did have a ghostwriter helping her along, but she is a busy girl and I tried to not let that take away from the book at all. This isn’t a profound work of literature, but it was totally entertaining and would be perfect as a travel book. You know, one you bring on the plane and read on subway rides or anytime you have a few spare minutes. It’s not the longest book either, so you could probably finish it off in a couple of days or a week.

All in all, I think you could say I’m impressed with Hilary Duff’s first foray into literature. “Elixir” has the recipe for a great teen fiction book, but is easily enjoyed by anyone. It’s an easy read and keeps you on your toes until the end!

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