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4/5 (62 ratings)
324 pages
4 hours
Feb 22, 2011


A breathtaking paranormal romance about boarding school students with special powers is now in paperback.

Violet McKenna thought she was crazy when she had a vivid vision of her dad’s murder—but when her premonition came true, her life fell apart. Then she found a new school. At Winterhaven, Violet fits right in. All the students have special “gifts” like her own, and she quickly finds a close group of friends. But Violet’s attraction to an alluring boy becomes problematic when intense visions of his death start to haunt her. In her premonitions, the secret he is unwilling to share begins to reveal itself—and the unbelievable becomes reality. To Violet’s horror, she learns that their destinies are intertwined in a crictical—and deadly—way.
Feb 22, 2011

About the author

Kristi Cook also publishes adult titles under the names Kristina Cook and Kristi Astor. Her YA novels include Haven, Mirage, Eternal, and Magnolia. Kristi lives in New York City with her husband and two daughters. Visit her at

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Inside the book

Top quotes

  • Much less what?” I prodded.

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Haven - Kristi Cook

This book is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events,

real people, or real locales are used fictitiously. Other names, characters,

places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination,

and any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons,

living or dead, is entirely coincidental.


An imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division

1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020

First Simon Pulse hardcover edition February 2011

Copyright © 2011 by Kristina Cook Hart

All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction

in whole or in part in any form.

SIMON PULSE and colophon are registered trademarks

of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

The Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau can bring authors to your live event. For

more information or to book an event contact the Simon & Schuster Speakers

Bureau at 1-866-248-3049 or visit our website at

Designed by Mike Rosamilia

The text of this book was set in Berling LT Std.

Manufactured in the United States of America

2 4 6 8 10 9 7 5 3 1

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Cook, Kristi.

Haven / by Kristi Cook. — 1st Simon Pulse hardcover ed.

p. cm.

Summary: Violet McKenna’s life started falling apart when

a premonition of her father’s murder came true, but at a new school,

Winterhaven, she finds friends with psychic gifts and an alluring boy whose

destiny is entwined with hers in a critical—and deadly—way.

ISBN 978-1-4424-0760-2 (hardcover)

[1. Psychic ability—Fiction. 2. Supernatural—Fiction. 3. Boarding schools—Fiction.

4. Schools—Fiction. 5. Orphans—Fiction. 6. New York (State)—Fiction.] I. Title.

PZ7.C76984Hav 2011 [Fic]—dc22 2010021803

ISBN 978-1-4424-0762-6 (eBook)

For Vivian and Eleanor,

the coolest kids ever.


1 ~ A New Beginning

I’ll never forget that first glimpse of Winterhaven as we pulled up the long, curving drive—gray stones bathed in the lavender haze of dusk, looking like an old European university, all flying buttresses and stone spires reaching toward the sky. Leaves in every shade of the autumn spectrum—red, yellow, orange, brown—littered the ground at my feet, crunching beneath my boots as I stepped out of the car and looked around. This was it—my new home, my new life.

Typically, I had just been dumped there as unceremoniously as had the luggage at my feet. My mom hadn’t even bothered to come along for the ride. Okay, technically Patsy is my stepmother, but since my real mom died when I was four and my dad married Patsy about, oh, two seconds later, she’s all I’ve got. She was always clear about her priorities, though—my dad, and her career, in that order. I think I made the list somewhere between the Junior League and Jimmy Choo shoes.

To give Patsy credit, though, she had made an effort to spend more time with me after my dad died. I thought we were making progress when she took an entire Saturday afternoon off and invited me out to lunch. But that’s when she dropped the bomb—she’d been offered a job in New York, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, she called it. So less than a month into my junior year, Patsy gave me a choice: stay in Atlanta with Gran, or move to New York with her.

There were no other options, no one else to foist me off on. No living relatives except for Gran, my real mom’s mother. And as much as I adore Gran, I just wasn’t sure that she was up to having me move in with her and Lupe, her companion/housekeeper. After all, Gran was old, set in her ways. I didn’t want to be a burden.

And, okay . . . I’ll admit that there was more to it than that. Way more. I can’t really explain it, but once I saw that Winter-haven brochure in the pile that Patsy had dumped in my lap, I somehow knew that this was the place for me. I’d been so sure of it that I’d actually refused to apply anywhere else.

And so . . . here I was. Time to see if my instincts had been correct. I made my way up the stairs toward the largest of the buildings, the one marked ADMINISTRATION. Taking a deep breath, I pushed open a set of double doors at the top of the stairs and stepped inside, looking around a huge rotunda. On either side of me, two staircases curved up, like a swan’s wings. Up above was a stained-glass-tiled dome, a huge chandelier hanging from its center. Directly below it stood a bronze statue cordoned off by red velvet ropes. WASHINGTON IRVING, the plaque read. The school’s founder. Which, I had to admit, was pretty cool.

Letting out a low whistle of appreciation, I turned in slow circles, admiring the view. Wow. The glossy brochure hadn’t done this place justice. I hoped it was costing Patsy a fortune.

At the sound of approaching footsteps, I froze, my heart thumping loudly against my ribs. A tall woman with graying auburn hair came into view, smiling as she hurried toward me, her high heels clicking noisily against the black-and-white checkerboard marble tiles.

You must be Miss McKenna, she called out. "Welcome to Winterhaven, chérie. I’m Nicole Girard. Are these all of your belongings?" She nodded toward the two trunks the driver had left at my side before disappearing without a word.

That’s it, I answered, my voice a bit rusty. I had the rest of my stuff shipped.

Very good. Just leave them there, and I’ll take you right up to the headmaster’s office. Dr. Blackwell is looking forward to welcoming you.

Great. I tried to sound enthusiastic. Glancing back one last time at my trunks, I followed Mrs. Girard up the stairs on my left and down a long hall lined with portraits of stern-looking old men in suits. Former headmasters, I guessed.

Finally we stopped in front of a large, arched wooden door that looked like it belonged in a medieval castle. Mrs. Girard knocked three times before turning the brass handle. Dr. Blackwell? she called out, stepping inside with me trailing behind. The new student has arrived.

A leather chair swiveled around, startling me so badly that I took a step back and nearly tripped over my own feet. A man sat behind the massive desk, watching me. His hair was totally silver, but his skin was surprisingly smooth except for crinkles at the corners of his eyes—eyes as silver as his hair. With his wire-rimmed spectacles and a pipe between his teeth, he looked just like I imagined a headmaster should.

Welcome, Miss McKenna. What a pleasure to meet you.

Th-thank you, sir, I stammered.

And how was your journey?

I think I slept through most of it, I answered truthfully.

I do hope you were able to explore the city a bit before coming here. I told your stepmother there was no rush.

I did, thanks. I had spent two weeks helping Patsy settle into her new apartment on the Upper East Side.

Very good. He nodded. Thank you, Nicole. I’ll ring the bell when I’m ready for you to show Miss McKenna to her room.

Very well, sir, the woman replied, then took her leave with one last smile in my direction.

Dr. Blackwell motioned for me to take a seat opposite him, so I settled myself into the chair across from his desk.

Well, then, he said, laying down his pipe and shuffling a stack of papers. I have your transcripts right here. Quite impressive. Windsor Day School, advanced classes, honor roll. A fencer. He took off his glasses and looked up at me. Hmm, on the state championship team, it says.

Yes, sir. I’m recovering from an injury, though. Almost out of habit, I reached across to rub my right shoulder.

Well, you’ll be pleased to know that we’ve quite a fencing program here at Winterhaven. Our instructor is an Olympic gold medalist. I’m sure there will be a place for you on the girls team.

I shifted in my seat. At Windsor we’d had just one team— and I had been the only girl on it.

As to your schedule, we’ve made some placements based upon your credits, but you’ll find our class offerings a little different here from those at Windsor Day. If anything doesn’t appeal to you, let us know at the end of the day tomorrow and we’ll make the necessary adjustments.

I’m sure it’ll be fine. I took the page he pushed across the desk.

Breakfast is served in the dining hall from seven till eight thirty, lunch at noon, and dinner from five to six thirty. He shuffled through some more papers on his desk. Let’s see, you’ll be in the East Hall dormitory. Mrs. Girard is house-mistress there, and her word is law. I’m sure I needn’t tell you that smoking and alcoholic beverages are strictly forbidden. Mrs. Girard will inform you of the remaining dormitory rules when she shows you to your room.

I must have looked panicked, because he smiled a gentle, grandfatherly smile. I assure you, they are nothing too strict. Now then, have you any questions for me?

Um, a roommate? I asked hopefully.

Ah, yes. You do have a roommate, and she’s eagerly awaiting your arrival. Miss Cecilia Bradford. I believe you’ll get on famously.

I nodded, hoping he was right. I wanted to fit in. To blend in.

Dr. Blackwell steepled his hands beneath his chin, silently watching me for a moment. I’m very sorry about your father’s death, Miss McKenna, he said, startling me.

My stomach rolled over in my gut. Was that information there in the papers on his desk? It had happened two years ago, but it still felt like yesterday. I couldn’t stand to think about it, even now. Especially now. What doesn’t break us only makes us stronger, Gran liked to say, but it never did make me feel any better.

Quite tragic, the headmaster added. Not something one can easily forget, is it?

No, I muttered, dropping my gaze to my lap. It wasn’t easy to forget, especially when people kept bringing it up.

I imagine that tomorrow will be a day of discovery for you. You might find yourself somewhat . . . surprised by what you find here at Winterhaven. If you have any questions or simply need to talk to someone, my door is always open. Figuratively speaking, of course.

I only nodded in reply.

Well, then. He tipped his head toward the door. Shall I ring the bell for Mrs. Girard?

That’d be great, I said, standing on shaky legs.

I hope your first night at Winterhaven is a pleasant one, Miss McKenna. He extended one hand toward me as Mrs. Girard bustled back in.

Thank you, sir. As I took his hand, a shudder ran up my arm. His hand was cold—like ice—despite the fire crackling away in the fireplace behind him.

Come now, Miss McKenna, Mrs. Girard said. If we go quickly, we might catch Miss Bradford before she heads down to dinner.

With a nod, I picked up my bag and stuffed my class schedule inside, then followed her out. We seemed to walk forever, one corridor leading to the next, up one staircase and down another. How in the world was I ever going to find my way around this place?

Finally we entered what looked like an oversize, paneled study with a stone fireplace on one side, a wall-mounted television in the corner, and bookshelves taking up the opposite wall. Brown leather couches and chairs were scattered about.

This is the East Hall lounge, Mrs. Girard explained, where you’ll have study hour after dinner each night. Other than that, it’s to use as you please. Vending machines are just over there, beside the mailboxes. Girls’ rooms are this way. She motioned to the right, and I followed her into yet another hall, this one lined with group photos of girls, all wearing blue velvet gowns. About halfway down the hall we stopped in front of a door with the number 217 on it, and she knocked sharply. When no one answered, she produced a key from her pocket and turned it in the lock.

Here we are, she said.

Stepping inside, I quickly surveyed the place. The room was surprisingly big, with two white wooden beds on either side of a window. The required desk and dresser were there beside each bed, and an open doorway on one side of the room led to what looked like a little sitting area, complete with love seat, chair, and coffee table. Not bad, I thought. It was actually pretty nice.

Mrs. Girard cocked her head toward the bare side of the room. I’ll send the housekeeper right up with some clean linens for your bed.

Thank you, I said, setting my bag on the empty desk.

I see your trunks made it up here already, and your course books are there on the shelves. With a nod, she rubbed her hands together. Now, then. House rules. No boys on the girls’ floor, and vice versa. No smoking, no alcoholic beverages. You will find snacks and beverages in the lounge and the café. The housekeepers come on Tuesdays and Fridays, so I ask that you have your clutter cleared away on those mornings. No cell phones in the lounge, or anywhere else on campus, for that matter. They must remain here in your room at all times. No music so loud as to disturb your neighbors. Lights out by eleven on school nights, midnight curfew on weekends. I suppose that’s it for now. The rest can wait.

There was more? I wasn’t what you’d call a party animal— not at all—but lights out at eleven seemed a little harsh, and so did the cell phone thing. I wasn’t used to going anywhere without my cell.

Oh, and the restrooms and showers are just next door, on your right. Just then the door was flung open, and a girl about my height wearing a pink robe and bunny slippers burst in, her hair wrapped in a towel.

Oh! She stepped back in surprise when she saw us standing there. You’re here!

Good evening, Miss Bradford, Mrs. Girard said. I’ve brought you your new roommate.

You must be Violet, she said brightly.

And you must be Cecilia. Deep brown skin, dark eyes, curly hair peeking out of her towel. She was beautiful, and I felt like a pale plain Jane in comparison.

She waved one hand in dismissal. "Oh, everyone calls me Cece. You have no idea how glad I am you’re here."

Mrs. Girard moved toward the door. Well then, I think we’re done going over the rules, Miss McKenna. Here’s your key—she laid it on my desk—and I’ll leave you two to get acquainted. You have your class schedule?

I nodded. Yes, ma’am.

Very good. You’ll find a campus map on the back. Have a wonderful evening, then. And don’t forget, Dr. Blackwell and myself are available to answer any questions that might arise over the course of the day tomorrow.

After she left, I turned my attention to Cece. She was standing by her bed, watching me curiously. I cleaned out the closet and made sure your half was empty, she offered.

Thanks. The room is much nicer than I expected. Big.

Yeah, it’s not too bad, except for the shared bath. But you get used to it. And hey, at least it’s right next door.

I cleared my throat, trying to think of something to say. You’ve been here since freshman year? I asked at last, knowing it sounded lame.

Yup. Home sweet home. She removed the towel from her head, revealing dark curls that fell just past her shoulders. So you’re from Atlanta?

Lived there my whole life, I said with a shrug. Same neighborhood, same house—just down the block from Gran, who’d live there her whole life. God, we were a boring bunch.

Still, it had been comfortable. If only Patsy had left well enough alone, hadn’t forced me to choose between her—the closest thing I had to a parent—and the only place I’d ever called home.

But she had made me choose, and I’d chosen Winterhaven. I tried to think of this as a new beginning, a fresh start. I’d reinvent myself—the new-and-improved Violet McKenna. No one here would know the names I’d been called—freak, weirdo. Half-jokingly, of course, but my friends had no idea how close to the truth they’d been, and how much that scared me. I was a freak, and I’d do just about anything to make sure no one here noticed it.

"Well, I’ve lived here my whole life, Cece said. The city, I mean. My mom’s family is from New Orleans, though, so we spend a lot of time down there. I think I’ve got some voodoo queen in my blood!"

"Now that sounds interesting." I sat down on my bed, watching as Cece walked over to the sitting area and started picking up magazines that were scattered about.

Just don’t let my mother hear you say that, she called back over one shoulder. So, what is it that you do?

You mean, like, fencing?

You’re a fencer? she asked, carrying the magazines over to her desk and leaving them in a pile that looked in serious danger of toppling over. You mean swords and all that stuff?

Yeah. I hear the program here is pretty good.

Oh. Yeah, sure. But I meant . . . you know . . . Cece trailed off, shaking her head when I said nothing. Never mind, she said with a shrug, glancing up at the clock above her desk. Crap, when did it get so late? I’ve got a student council meeting tonight.

She hurried over to her dresser, pulling open drawers and haphazardly pulling things out. Minutes later she was dressed in jeans and a pink T-shirt, a touch of gloss on her lips. Very low maintenance—I liked that.

So, you’re on student council? I asked, just trying to make conversation.

Yep, you’re looking at the newly elected junior class president, she said with a grin, grabbing her keys off her desk and stuffing them into a pocket.

Cool, I said.

She shrugged. I don’t know. Is it cool? I swear, sometimes I think I’m headed toward total dorkdom.

"No, it really is cool." Actually, everything about Cece seemed cool, which made me feel like an even bigger loser.

She paused by the door. I feel terrible just leaving you here, fifteen minutes after you walk through the door. Want me to call some of my friends, ask them to come over and show you around?

I shook my head. No, I swear I’ll be fine. By the time you get back, I’ll have everything all unpacked and organized.

She bit her lower lip, then nodded. Okay. I guess I’ll go, then.

Go, I answered with a laugh, shooing her out.

As soon as the door closed behind her, I looked around with a sigh, surveying the blank side of the room—my new digs, such as they were. I’d never shared a room with anyone before, much less a bathroom. It was definitely going to take some getting used to, but I had a really good feeling about Cece.

I couldn’t resist the urge to go over to her desk and straighten the magazines, though. Vogue, Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone. Yeah, we were going to get along just fine.

Across the room, my cell phone made a chirping sound. Hurrying back to my own desk, I dug around in my bag till I found it. I expected a message from Patsy, checking to make sure that I’d arrived safely and all that. Instead I found a text from Whitney, my best friend since the very first day of kindergarten, when we’d trooped into our classroom and found our cubbies, conveniently alphabetized by first name, right next to each other. We’d sort of started to drift apart lately, mostly because she’d left Windsor for a performing arts school freshman year. She had new friends, new interests, and I had gotten increasingly busy with fencing. Still, she’d always been a phone call away. She still is, I reminded myself.

I scanned her message—asking how it was going so far—and smiled. At least someone cared. I sent her a quick text back, promising to e-mail her as soon as I got my laptop set up.

If I could find my laptop, that is. I glanced down at the trunks that held nearly all my earthly possessions, and sighed. Time to start unpacking.

Morning came far too quickly. Still in my pajamas, I winced at the sight of my bloodshot eyes staring back at me in the mirror.

You’re going to miss breakfast if you don’t hurry and get dressed, Cece said, eyeing me from across the room as she pulled on her shoes.

I know. I just . . . I didn’t get much sleep last night. New bed and all. I’d actually lain awake most of the night, only drifting off somewhere near dawn.

I’ll wait for you, she offered.

I weighed my options. I could go down now and face the crowd—get it over with. Or I could enjoy some quiet time alone and pull myself together. Ultimately I took the coward’s way out. It’s okay, you go on ahead. I just need some coffee.

There’s a coffee machine in the lounge. At least, they call it coffee. Personally, I think they’re using the term a little too loosely.

I had to laugh at that. The way I feel right now, just about anything will do. What time’s first period?

Eight forty-five. What’s your first class?

I hadn’t even glanced at my schedule yet. Let me see. I grabbed my bag and rummaged through it till I found the sheet Dr. Blackwell had given me. First period, Hackley Hall, Corridor A, Room 312. Culture and Society in Nineteenth-Century Britain. Wow, that was a sophisticated-sounding course for high school.

That’s an advanced-level class, Cece said, wrinkling her nose. You must be a brainiac or something.

I just shrugged. I’d been called worse.

Anyway, she continued, Hackley Hall is where all the junior- and senior-level classes are held, and it’s the building just behind us. Here, give me your schedule and I’ll show you on the map.

I handed it over along with a pen and watched as she scanned my class list, turned it over and circled a big rectangle on the map, then drew a line from what must be the dorms to the circled building. There you go, she said, handing it back to me. After that, you’re on your own. Your classes are all more advanced than mine. But I’ll save you a seat in the dining hall at lunch, okay?

That’d be great. Will I get lost trying to find my way there?

Nope. Just follow the hungry crowd.


Grinning, she stuffed some notebooks into a pale pink backpack. I just know you’re going to love it here, she said, pausing by the doorway.

God, I hoped she was right.

2 ~ The Eyes Have It

Taking a deep, fortifying breath, I stepped into the classroom, my schedule still clutched in one clammy hand. Left and right, kids elbowed past me and took their seats. I glanced down at the page I held, reminding myself that it was totally normal to be a little nervous. New school, new kids . . . it was going to take some getting used to. Corridor A, my schedule said. Room 312. This was it. My gaze shot back up, toward the rows of seats before me.

And then I saw him. Second row, third seat back. Gorgeous eyes. He looked at me strangely, as if he were surprised to see me, a steady gaze beneath a baseball cap pulled low over his brow. Whoever he was, he was watching me so intently that I could barely breathe. For the briefest of moments I felt a flicker of fear. The hum of voices receded and all I could hear was the steady pounding of my own heart. My schedule slipped through my fingers and fluttered to the ground beside my feet in slow, swooping arcs.

Great. I hadn’t even been at Winterhaven a full twenty-four hours and already I was making an idiot of myself. My cheeks burning, I knelt to retrieve the page. And then they were there, not inches from my face—those eyes. Not quite blue, but not quite gray, either.

I think you dropped this, he said, completely derailing my train of thought. My gosh, that voice . . . deep and soft, with the hint of an accent. British, maybe? I was definitely a sucker for accents.

My heart skipped a beat as I stared at the rumpled page he held in his outstretched hand. For some unknown reason, I took a step back, wanting to increase the distance between us. Reluctantly, I raised my gaze to meet his.

The first thing I noticed was that his face was pale, his skin perfect except for dark smudges beneath his eyes. His lips were full, his nose slightly crooked, as if it had

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What people think about Haven

62 ratings / 33 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    This was such a good book. I loved everything about it.
  • (4/5)
    What a great read it had everything, I'm so glad I read this book. If you have some great stories like this one, you can publish it on Novel Star, just submit your story to or
  • (4/5)
    The only reason I am giving this book 4 stars and not 5 is because there were just way too many similarities to most other vampire stories that I have read. Without giving away too much; Violet is a wonderful character and her visions are almost reminiscent of Alice (Twilight). The mind reading from Aidan brings in Edward. Don't get me wrong, I loved the story, and couldn't stop reading once I started. I was up till almost 4 in the morning just to finish it.
    The love story between Violet and Aidan, is just like every other vampire human love story, and that fact that at times he wants so much more but apparently has Iron Clad control (Edward) and refuses to let things go farther than he can handle. There were so many similarities between Haven and Twilight, Buffy, Evernight and even some Vampire Diaries thrown in there, I almost forgot that I was reading an entirely different story altogether. The similarities don't really take anything away from the story, but if you are wanting something new then this might not be the book for you.
    The gifts of the other students add another element to the story, and come in handy in more ways than one throughout the book. Violet's friends really stick by her and show what a true friend is, even in a world of "freaks" The ending leaves something to be desired, I wish there were more to read and I am really hoping for a sequel.
  • (3/5)
    I liked Kristi Cook's debut novel Haven. Haven seemed to be a combination of a lot of elements that I really liked from other books. The MC Violet has a gift, although it doesn't seem like much of a gift to her since she has absolutely no control over how it affects her and while she just wants to fit in, her "gift" continues to make her stand out and not in a good way. When her step-mother decides to move to NY, Violet thinks that maybe things could be different. She feels drawn to Winterhaven, a private school, where she hopes she can finally find a place for herself. Turns out that Winterhaven is hiding some secrets as well, such as, all of the students there are "gifted" in one way or another, and some of the students just may not be what they seem at all. While Winterhaven's classes are just normal acadamia and don't really address the student's special abilities, Violet has a tutor that trys to help her gain some control over her gift, or at least learn how to utilize it more effectively. In the mean time, Violet is thrilled to find herself part of a lively group of girls and even drawing the attention of the most mysterious boy at school. Just as Violet thinks that she's finally found all that she's been hoping for, things seem to veer far off course and she finds herself part of some prophetic paranormal showdown and nothing is what she thought it was.

    I really enjoyed reading about the school. Winterhaven and the students were what fascinated me most about Haven. The different gifts and the ways in which they were used was really well thought out and intriguing. I thought that the characters were likable enough but could have had a bit more depth. I was a bit disappointed about Violet's love interest Aiden, but that is only because I didn't expect Haven to go in that direction and that wasn't really the kind of book I wanted to read. There was, of course, the immediate obsessive attraction, boy sees girl, boy can't stay away even though he tries to for her own sake. Those were the few eye-rolling elements for me. However, the plot was entertaining and kept me involved in the story.

    While I would not describe Haven as a fast-paced page turner, it moved along at a steady enough pace to prevent me from wanting to put the book down. I liked the characters but wanted to understand them a little more. The plot was interesting if not entirely original, there were some unusual twists here and there. Overall, I think this was a solid debut novel from Kristi Cook and I look forward to reading more from this author.
  • (2/5)
    Wow was this sloooooow book. The heroine was extremely dull, her visions seemed quite useless. The story had a lot of potential, but didn't deliver. So many fun adventures could have been had, but instead we were bombarded with a not-so-exciting girls' obsession with a boy she barely knew (totally didn't buy the whole destiny thing - wasn't feeling it at all). I won't read the other books as I simply don't care what happens to any of the characters.
  • (4/5)
    Very good
  • (5/5)
    I first read this as one of two free reads on PulseIt a few years ago and have been searching for the sequel ever since. A truly enjoyable book that held me on the edge of my seat the entire time. I can't wait to reread it before reading the sequel and then the third book.
  • (4/5)
    Library Summary: "Violet McKenna's life started falling apart when a premonition of her father's murder came true, but at a new school, Winterhaven, she finds friends with psychic gifts and an alluring boy whose destiny is entwined with hers in a critical--and deadly--way." I just finished reading this book and all I can say is...OMG!!!!! THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS I HAVE EVER READ!!!!!Now for those of you that have read this book, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking that this is a rip off of Twilight. But it is a much better love story than Twilight ever was. At least it is in my opinion. Not that I don't like Twilight. I recommend this to all those people who love Twilight.
  • (3/5)
    This book has all the elements to be great, a troubled protagonist, a hot boy with dark secrets, and a villain with the plot to destroy. Everything was there and it was a good book, slow at first but gaining steady momentum. But there was just something thats kept from loving it. I think it may be underdeveloped characters. Violet and Aidan, along with Violets friends have a good base to start from but you don't get to know any of them in depth which kept me from really caring what happened to them either way. Everything was there but i was still left.......wanting. Im giving this book 3 stars out of 5.
  • (4/5)
    A twilight knock-off but in some ways much better. My 1st read by this author and I was pretty impressed. I look forward to reading others and in continuing this series as well.
  • (5/5)
    WOW! I don’t even know where to begin…I am one of those people that judges a book by its cover. The minute I saw the cover for Haven I was pulled right in and I just had to get my hands on a copy. When I was given the chance to read Haven by the author herself, I was ecstatic. It was simply one of those books that you just KNOW is going to be good.Well, it was good alright, in fact it was more then good! It was AMAZING! I loved everything about it! From the first page to the very end, I was glued to the words. I probably would have finished reading Haven in less than a day if it wasn't for work. The story started off one way, and completely took a turn into another. I actually found myself saying "oh snap!" out loud LOL. Didn't see that coming at all!Violet arrives at Winterhaven just expecting it to be like any other school. She quickly makes new friends and falls right into place. Not long after her arrival she captures the attention of Aidan Grey. Aidan is a student at Winterhaven who doesn’t really converse much with anyone. He’s a mystery to everyone and this makes him even more intriguing. I quickly fell in love with Aidan and Violet's relationship. The way their feelings developed made me want to fall in love all over again. I found myself in awe throughout most of the story. I feel like I am going to keep repeating myself about how much I loved their relationship. Aidan was just perfect in every single way.I highly recommend you read Haven by Kristi Cook. From the writing to the characters, and the CRAZY ending, it’s one big emotional roller coaster. And I mean this in a good way. I loved it and I don’t know how many times I can say I LOVED HAVEN! A Definite Must Read!
  • (4/5)
    I liked this one. It was very much as it is advertised: X-men meets Twilight. The idea may not be original but it is executed in an interesting way none the less and I found it much better than other books of the same idea. I liked the characters and while Aidan's character is a bit aloof, I liked him better than I thought. I wasn't just interested in the romance of the story but the actual plot and thought it was so much fun! It reminded me a lot of Buffy and that's a good thing! Good book, can't wait for the sequel!
  • (4/5)
    Dear readers of YA fiction, I'm so happy to let you know that "Haven" is great fun to read and relax with! I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I can recommend it without reservation to both tweens and teens, as well as YAs. Of course, those of us who like to enjoy a soft read into the realms of the psychic and paranormal will love it, too. Violet, the darling primary character, is a girl not too full of herself or too involved in her ability to forsee the future through dreams/visions. In fact, her ability scares her and makes her a sort of outcast at school. She's just an ordinary girl; however, being an orphan also leaves her in the extraordinary position of needing friends and someone to care about her. When her step-mother gives her a choice of boarding schools, Violet is drawn inexplicably to Winterhaven. Arriving at her new school, Violent finds there's something odd about it and the students and faculty... She's not quite sure she "fits" here, either. This alone makes her a bit vulnerable, but when she meets Aidan, a gorgeous and mysterious boy in a couple of her classes, she's is he. Thus begins Violet's adjustment to Winterhaven, and its adjustment to her! Kristi Cook is the perfect writer for this genre. She carefully balances the fanciful, the dark, mysterious ebbs and flows of the paranormal, and love interests of the many. Teens and tweens will find her book all they need to set them daydreaming! Characters are fully drawn with quite thoroughly decided relationships to each other. Each one has specific "skills," personalities, connections that are well defined, and can stand alone. In that they are interesting in and of themselves, it makes for a wonderful cast for Kristi's second novel in this series. Aidan will take your breath away. Ms Cook leaves no stone unturned to make him the vampire of your dreams. Golden haired, glistening-slivertoned eyes, a hunk if we've ever read of one! He's sensitive and manly at the same time. Oh, give me room to fall...I'm falling!! I'll take one, please... This is a book that's perfect for a quiet weekend. Why not this weekend? Both you and your special girl(s) will love it. Just don't leave it laying around before you've finished it.
  • (3/5)
    I liked Kristi Cook's debut novel Haven. Haven seemed to be a combination of a lot of elements that I really liked from other books. The MC Violet has a gift, although it doesn't seem like much of a gift to her since she has absolutely no control over how it affects her and while she just wants to fit in, her "gift" continues to make her stand out and not in a good way. When her step-mother decides to move to NY, Violet thinks that maybe things could be different. She feels drawn to Winterhaven, a private school, where she hopes she can finally find a place for herself. Turns out that Winterhaven is hiding some secrets as well, such as, all of the students there are "gifted" in one way or another, and some of the students just may not be what they seem at all. While Winterhaven's classes are just normal acadamia and don't really address the student's special abilities, Violet has a tutor that trys to help her gain some control over her gift, or at least learn how to utilize it more effectively. In the mean time, Violet is thrilled to find herself part of a lively group of girls and even drawing the attention of the most mysterious boy at school. Just as Violet thinks that she's finally found all that she's been hoping for, things seem to veer far off course and she finds herself part of some prophetic paranormal showdown and nothing is what she thought it was. I really enjoyed reading about the school. Winterhaven and the students were what fascinated me most about Haven. The different gifts and the ways in which they were used was really well thought out and intriguing. I thought that the characters were likable enough but could have had a bit more depth. I was a bit disappointed about Violet's love interest Aiden, but that is only because I didn't expect Haven to go in that direction and that wasn't really the kind of book I wanted to read. There was, of course, the immediate obsessive attraction, boy sees girl, boy can't stay away even though he tries to for her own sake. Those were the few eye-rolling elements for me. However, the plot was entertaining and kept me involved in the story. While I would not describe Haven as a fast-paced page turner, it moved along at a steady enough pace to prevent me from wanting to put the book down. I liked the characters but wanted to understand them a little more. The plot was interesting if not entirely original, there were some unusual twists here and there. Overall, I think this was a solid debut novel from Kristi Cook and I look forward to reading more from this author.
  • (3/5)
    This book felt like a combination of other young adult novels; it was a mix of Twilight and The Sookie Stackhouse Series. It could have definitely had a stronger plot and more developed characters. It wasn't what I expected, with a slow plot and an abrupt ending. I guess if there's a sequel I will try it, but I wasn't too impressed with this book.
  • (4/5)
    While this book drags at some parts and I think the characters were a bit underdeveloped, I really enjoyed the story and the twists that went along with it. I hope that there is a sequel and we get to find out if a cure was ever found and whether Aiden and Violet get to spend their lives together quietly. Not a book that I would recommend for the beach or a long trip as I had to take quite a few breaks in it because I felt bogged down by the pace.
  • (2/5)
    I feel like Haven had the potential to be very awesome, but a good portion of it was just too familiar for me to completely enjoy the book. I've come to expect at least a certain degree of predictability in YA, but I also look forward to seeing how authors can make familiar tropes seem fresh in their story. Unfortunately, Haven had my undivided attention for quite some time. It was easy to find myself comparing certain storylines and characters to some I've previously encountered in other works. The relationship between Violet and Aidan, while reminiscent of Edward and Bella (one of my favorite couples), didn't quite click for me in the same way. Their relationship felt rushed, and yet I failed to feel any real urgency or heat between the two. The twist in their relationship would have been interesting...had it not played a major role on a certain TV show months before. Plus, the attempt of explanation for it felt weak. It was difficult to warm up to the characters on their own, too. The Aidan effect failed to dazzle me and Violet felt very immature; I never got a real sense of growth from her. The Sabbat storyline was a turning point, but it was only introduced halfway through the book and, even then, not fully explored. I guess there's always a sequel?The ending felt abrupt. The "big bad" was also only introduced towards the end, but there was a buildup to his arrival so I expected an epic showdown. It was all over within a page or so - I actually looked back to make sure I hadn't accidentally skipped over some pages in between. Very anti-climatic. There were parts of the book that I did enjoy - I did, after all, speed through it pretty quickly - and I'm curious enough to maybe pick up future sequels but, ultimately, the execution of Haven just didn't work for me
  • (4/5)
    After the death of her father, Violet's stepmother informs her that she is going to boarding school. With a new high powered job, Patsy feels that it's the best thing for Violet. Given several choices, Violet is drawn to Winterhave in upstate New York.Winterhave is rather posh, and rather gothic, and Violet senses from the first day, that there is something rather odd about it as well. But she feels at home immediately. Upon meeting her new roommate, Cece, she feels that her life is going to change for the better.On teh first day of calsses, she hmeets Aiden Gray - the dark, brooding, and incredibly hot, aiden Gray. Aiden has the power to make all the girls at Winterhave weak in the kneeds just by being in their presence..including Violet. But there is something different about the way he stears at her from across the classroom. There is something different about all the students at Winterhaven. Violet begins to feel that she isn't as much of a freak as her old classmates thought, and that her gifts are not a curse. But will these gifts make her life, and those of her friends, more dangerious? Can she learn to control them to save her Winterhaven friends from an unknown foe?No racy contentFst pacedWell developed plot and charactersNot too much detail - gets right into the story - and sets a plausable sceneSuspensful and exciting!
  • (5/5)
    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. If you like paranormal romances, you'll find this to be a solid read. It isn't my absolute favorite, but the plot was really interesting, the characters were fabulous, and the writing was pretty darn good. I have none of my semi-usual negative comments this genre tends to attract. The main character is a strong female who never became stupid simply to advance the plot. The love story seems genuine and the characters are fully fleshed out. The novel is meant to be the first of three, but it has a satisfying ending and won't make you crazy that you have to wait for the next one. The book has a beginning, middle, and end, which ties up the plot and yet leaves room for more story to be told. And yes, it is a vampire(ish) novel, but it's not just a vampire novel, so I don't know why everyone is complaining that it is a Twilight clone. I found minimal similarities between this and Twilight. If you don't like to read books with a vampire in it, then maybe you shouldn't read them... Just saying.My only qualm that I see others have picked up on, is that the cover art has literally nothing to do with the story. The characters never talk about, think about, or touch books or butterflies ... so I'm not really sure why they are on the cover. But definitely, this book was pretty great.
  • (4/5)
    Warning: Spoilers followApparently my capacity for books with vampires in them is infinite! I was willing to bet that I wouldn't enjoy Haven, because I thought I'd had my fill of vampire-mortal Twilight knock offs, but I was wrong. Here's why I liked it: I liked the "gifts" possessed by her friends, and liked the idea of an X-men like kind of school where those who are different can be accepted. It's a universal theme, and what's not to like. I liked that even within this haven, there was still a scorned group, the shifters, and that Violet did something about that when the opportunity arose. I liked the reaction of her friends when Violet first starts seeing Aidan; their curiosity and their teasing because it seemed completely natural. Gifted or not, budding love inspires the same reactions. I also liked that later on in the book, there was an explanation for why they Violet was so instantly attracted to Aiden. Some reviewers have criticized the speed with which they fall for each other, but it is explained once you know more details of a Sabbat, and I liked that too.I liked the source of the conflict; that someone, Julius, would be threatened by someone and act on it, without even checking out the details to find out if a cure really would be a threat to him. The science geek in me even liked the idea of vampirism being a parasitic disease. So, even though there were multiple similarities to many other vampire romance in a school novels I've read, Evernight comes to mind first, I still enjoyed reading this one, and am willing to be that the YA readers at my school do as well. I'm betting that once it is borrowed, I won't see if back on the shelf until the end of the year.The thing I didn't like at all was the cover. Usually, I can look at the cover after I've read a book and discern why certain features have been chosen, but in this case, I'm completely baffled. There is NO significance or reference in Haven to a butterfly resting on a closed book. On the back of the cover, there is, what looks like, a huge moth, which again has NOTHING to do with the book. I'm seriously annoyed by the choices on the cover. I don't give "book jacket" assignments to my students, but if I did, and one of them handed in the Haven cover, it would be an epic failure.
  • (1/5)
    Apparently all YA books now are all the same thing. A girl starts in a new school, normally a boarding school, where she meets some new friends, she will feel accepted, she is not a freak anymore, and she will fall in love with the hottest guy in the school, who is also in love with her, but he is always keeping secrets because he wants to protect her. In less than a paragraph I just told you what this book is about. My first impression was good. I liked the way the author starts the story about Violet. Even though this part remembered me Fallen by Lauren Kate. I also liked the part when she discovers what is the main purpose of the school, something that also made me remember Dark Mirror by P.J. Putney, where the main character also has a "gift". Later comes the hottest guy, who is a combination of DanielFromFallen-EdwardFromTwillight. Like you see, this book is a big mix of different books. But hey, until here, I was happy with the story.What made me change my mind? Well... Too many cliches. After two hundred pages reading about Violet, who is worried why her two days boyfriend don't tell her what is going on, I just got bored. I can accept some similarities, but not a whole book full of them. Also, no development. Any. The story is about all the time how she met him, how she feels about him, why is he keeping secrets from her, and their amazing connection.Their romance, even though all the story is about it, it's weak. Not convincing. They meet and the fall immediately. No realistic, not even romantic. And later, the story turns in something completely different. SPOILER The main character Aidan is a vampire. OMFG! C'mon guys! The story looked really good, and now is catastrophic. Everything was good in a school of kids with special abilities. It was a good idea! What the hell is a vampire doing there? I thought for a moment that I had changed the book without noticing! That I was reading a different story or a really bad joke. I'm so disappointed. END OF SPOILERIn my opinion, this book doesn't even deserve a rating. I'm giving it just one star, because of the effort of the author, because it is not easy to write a book or create a story. 1/5
  • (4/5)
    At first I thought that the premonition plot had been used way too much the same way but then I read more of it and became hooked. Because it's a SCHOOL of people with different powers ("We don't like to use that word"), I felt it was a different take on the overused storyline. I loved this book.
  • (4/5)
    ** spoiler alert ** ...I loved the cover! It is truly aesthetically pleasing to any book reader. It's the reason I picked up the book. The book itself, was disappointing. I'd just like to say now that the book has nothing what-so-ever to do with the cover. I was hoping for something more and I had high expectations from everyone else's reviews. Sadly I thought it was too much like Twilight. Strange hot guy, girl who's "special", and the first meeting where they "connect". I was so disapointed when I found out I had read half the book to read another vamp. book. Their conversations were lacking and the book had dialogue I, nor any of my friends would say. Aidan and Violet's relationship included studying, a few dates and kisses. Even when Aidan keeps leaving and ignoring her, they fall in love. It felt as if it was more lust than love. She even ditches her friends for Aidan. ...I did like some parts of the book. It's a more different twist on vampires and psychic gifts. I liked the plot, but I wished Cook would have embellished it a bit more. Over all, I'd give it a 3.5 and recommend the book for vamp. fans. Just get it from your library, if you're not sure.
  • (4/5)
    Loved this book and all of its characters especially Aidan and Violet...
  • (5/5)
    What a fun book. I love a book that I really like all the characters from the first time they enter the book. Violet is fun, she is a great character and has always felt out-of-place in her own skin and around others because of the visions that hit her when she least expects it. So not only does she zone out but she can frequently see when bad things are going to happen to those around her. And this is bad enough but when she tries to tell people they never believe her. So Violet feels very out-of-place until she sees the brochure for Winterhaven. It calls to her and when she starts at the school she quickly finds out why. At Winterhaven, Violet is not alone. Everyone there has a special ability and finally Violet feels like she is at home. With a great roommate, who is a lot of fun herself, CeeCee and several other girls that quickly befriend her, she is part of a group and happy for the first time in a long time.Add into the mix a handsome, mysterious boy who seems to have eyes only for her (even though he spends a lot of time in the chemistry lab) and Violet is just about in Heaven. Then the visions start and things get a little weird. But I won't give any more away - you have to read it.Fun characters, a plot that sucks you in and great storytelling make Haven one of my favorite YA books this year. It comes out today so I suggest you get a hold of this one. I am hoping there will be more in the series. The book ties itself up well but it also lends itself to a series. I was impressed with this book - it's light fun yet serious at times too. It's a very enjoyable read, that I would read again in a heartbeat - I loved being immersed in the world of Winterhaven and the students and teachers there.
  • (4/5)
    I find it really interesting when a book, even though it falls into the category of paranormal genres, the characters in it are still very much tangible and can be easily to relate with. And if you’re looking for a book just like that, look no further because Haven is the book for you!Haven took me by surprise. At first, I honestly thought I wouldn't enjoy this book but apparently I was wrong. What really draws me into reading this book was the premise; I simply love the idea of a boarding school for “gifted” teenagers and it’s not just a boarding school for a certain supernatural ability, every possible teenager with supernatural abilities are present. And also I like how tangible the scenes are, Kristi Cook's powerful writing has brought this fascinating and intriguing world of Violet into life. I can't wait to read more from her.As for the characters, I enjoyed Violet as a protagonist. I think she’s a very interesting girl and everyone can totally relate to her. She has the strength of character and she’s very human as well despite the fact that she can see the future and that she’s another ‘thing’ that I’m not going to mention because I’m not going to ruin the story for you. I like her friends too, especially Cece, (I personally like her powers among other characters) I like how she really cares and stick with Violet all the way. Aidan, on the other hand, is…Oh.My.God. So, Aidan. He’s the kind of character where when you first read him you know there’s something really interesting about him that you have no choice but to go and figure it out. His relationship with Violet was also one of the things I really like. I thought it has substance and very genuine.I also find it very interesting how Kristi relates vampirism to a blood-borne disease, although, I’m not really sure how the process of vampirism goes, however, the way Kristi Cook relates the two makes a lot of sense that in between reading, I was actually searching about Malaria. Haha. I think that’s really, really awesome.I just have one small issue on this one; I thought the action scenes were a little too short. I was expecting that it would be more protracted considering the fact that the story was surrounded with teenagers with amazing supernatural abilities.Nevertheless, Haven is great and surprising read. I’m giving this book 4 out of 5 stars because I had so much fun hanging out with Violet and her gang! I recommend this to all Twilight, Vampire Diaries and X-Men fanatics! You’re all going to enjoy this book!
  • (4/5)
    Review courtesy of All Things Urban FantasyI hate this cover. And not because it’s dull, plain, and uninspiring (I still have no idea why there’s a giant butterfly on the front). I hate it because it completely turned me off of this book so that I almost didn’t read it. And then I would have missed out on a story that is deeply romantic and tragic in a way that pierces your heart and makes you long for the impossible. HAVEN doesn’t really break new grown with it’s plot, in fact it borrows heavily from Buffy, THE VAMPIRE DIARIES, TWILIGHT, FALLEN, and to a lesser degree HARRY POTTER and X-Men. But it does combine some of the best parts of those stories to create a book that plucks at your heartstrings, carries you along a dark romance, forces you to chase after a dangerous mystery, and holds you hostage until the very end. What HAVEN doesn’t borrow are the clichés that litter this genre. We are spared the vicious beautiful clique at the boarding school where Violet transfers. She doesn’t get a long with everyone, but there aren’t any psycho cheerleaders who get off on torturing people. Better still, Violet isn’t some wimpy waif who needs to be coddled into using her abilities. And her love interest, Aiden…it’s impossible to say what I liked so much about him without giving away anything, but the way his maturity is explained so perfectly sidesteps something that always bothers me in YA fiction that I actually let out a sigh of relief. Bad cover art can’t really be blamed on the author, and I hope readers will look past it and experience the story and characters inside because Paranormal YA doesn’t get much better than HAVEN. Mystery, romance, and friendship tied up in a neat paranormal package. On her website, Kristi says that HAVEN is the first in a planned trilogy. They can’t come soon enough.Sexual Content: Kissing. References to sex.
  • (5/5)
    This was similar in some ways to another series out there. On that note I must say, we as readers read a lot of books that are similar to others out there. I loved the idea that Violet has always felt different because she has a secret she could tell to no one. Once she gets to Winterhaven School she immediately realizes she’s not alone. Everyone else has these same secrets and she fits right in. That is until she meets Aidan Gray. She is immediately drawn to him and yet at the same time she knows he holds an even bigger secret. The character were realistic enough. The supporting characters were believable and charming and added the extra spice to the story. This was a very quick and easy read. It has all of the elements to grab you and hold you from the beginning. Any teen or adult who loves the young adult paranormal genre will enjoy this. This is Kristi’s debut novel so we need to keep an eye on her to see what she gives us next.
  • (4/5)
    I have to say that I did enjoy this read. There were parts where it reminded me of some other popular paranormal book(s) that I won't name, but if you read it and you've read the other(s) – I'm sure you can distinguish from there. However, this didn't deter from the read at any point because, let's be honest, you're always going to be able to find similarities between books.Haven was a fairly quick read for me. I don't think that it was so much page volume as much as that the story did draw me in. Violet is a wonderful protagonist that was very easy to relate to and actually like – which is a gift in itself. There are so many stories where the main character is whiny, spoiled and just not likable … I'm glad that's not the case with this one because it makes the story that much harder to read. AND, another bonus – her friends were just as likable. I think this is the first read I've read this year where I haven't had some kind of “bad friend” complaint about the secondary characters. Definite kudos there. The love interest was just as swoon-worthy as you can imagine, though I think the chemistry could have been shown a little more to make the romance more believable. I need reasons to believe that an attraction is there, I don't just like being told that it's there and just accept it.The plot and storyline were great. Kristi did a good job of putting cliches together in her own original story and I definitely respect her for that. Her writing was clear, smooth, and overall just easy to read. There was just enough description and action to make it a wonderful read. The climax, I think, was the shortcoming of the book. I would have liked a little more action in that part of the story, but it was enough to quench. After reading Haven, I was left with some questions. I don't know if the author meant to do that or if it was something that was just skipped over, but the questions I have aren't anything that I'll lose sleep over – just common curiosity.Overall, Haven was a good read that will grab your attention and keep you turning the pages. The plot's good and the characters are even better. I'd recommend this for any of my paranormal romance lovers that like young adult novels.
  • (5/5)
    What I like most about this book was how easily it flowed. I enjoyed the writing, the plot, and most of all the characters. Violet is joining a new school in which she feel inexplicably drawn to. She also carries a deep secret she has been holding her whole life. With one day on campus, she meets Aiden who has seem to not only catch her eye but she has captured his heart as well. I loved Violet. She is a character who I can relate to right away. She is strong, beautiful, and took everything in about the school in stride. Violet didn't have a very good life and I was proud of how she was able to move on without anything holding her back. Her reaction to the big secret was one I did enjoy seeing.Aiden was the hot mysterious guy I could just not get enough of. He loved Violet and did anything and everything for her. He put his life at risk with protecting her and the experiments he is doing.The ironic twist of the book is a very good surprise. Ms. Cook definitely added some spice to the book with the secret. It added just enough pretense in the book to the buildup and the ending is great. I will admit it did break my heart a little and even made me cry. Nonetheless, Violet is strong and went on to want her destiny called her to.If you like a new school with some deep secrets read this book. The love between Aiden and Violet will leave you speechless and breathless. Ms. Cook made this book not only enjoyable but easy to read and get into. The debut was absolutely fabulous!