By Blood - Tracy E. Banghart

(I received this book from NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.)

2.5 stars. I enjoyed parts of this novel, while others seriously grated on my nerves. It wasn't a bad story; it contains its share of good elements, only I may have read it at a moment when the ones I didn't like bothered me more than in other circumstances.

I liked the idea of Druids-related beliefs, and how they were introduced into the story. On the one hand, Emma seemed to join in a little too easily; on the other, she was confused, had to leave her country, learnt some troubling things about her family, and it made sense that she'd want a place, a group of people to belong to. In that, the author did a fairly believable job. 17 is still an age at which you can be impressed by many things (hah, you can be that even later in life, after all), and some of her mistakes are somewhat understandable. Not to mention that the girl who introduced her to the whole thing was bubbly and likeable.

Another thing I found nice enough, although it took too much time to my liking to happen, was how Emma grew up somehow throughout the story. She started as an insufferable, self-centered person, and I must admit her tantrums sometimes made me roll her eyes and think "can we stop now?" However, in the end, she opens up and becomes more accepting, more mature. She drops the bratty attitude, and this is good.

What I really didn't like:
* For someone who grew up with a cop father, who took and even taught self-defence classes, I found her too gullible and too prone to putting herself in tricky situations. I've never attended such classes, but I suppose one of the things they teach you there is how to avoid putting youself in dangerous situations for starters. At least, this seems logical to me. Emma, on the other hand, seemed to seek those, which totally clashed with how she was portrayed at the very beginning of the novel. Being confused should only take you so far.
* It was too heavy on the drama. I may have enjoyed this if I had been younger (I imagine it would 'speak' to a lot of teenagers, since those are the years when a lot of us feel rejected—sometimes justifiably so, sometimes not). But it leant a little too much towards woe-is-me moments. For instance, she gets the only small, closet-sized room in the house while her baby brother and basically everyone else get a gorgeous one. It may not seem like much, but considering her overall circumstances, the latter were enough for me to understand her unease; no need for more.
* Love triangle, good boy/bad boy. Predictable.