Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber (Published by Sourcebooks Fire, November 1, 2011)
Seventeen-year-old Natalie Stewart has been unable to speak since her mother died when she was a little girl, and so she has lived a rather isolated life. After graduating from a school for the deaf and mute and returning home to New York City, she begins writing a diary to pass the time. Her father works for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which in 1880, when the story is set, had only been open for a few years. Natalie becomes interested in a painting of Lord Denbury, a young English nobleman who was recently presumed dead.
From the start, Natalie is fascinated by the lifelike portrait, and she soon learns why. Lord Denbury is not dead, but has been trapped in the painting by an evil demon who has possessed his body. Only Natalie can visit him in the painting, and in her dreams, which have always been dark and disturbing. Natalie and Lord Denbury soon begin to fall in love, but can Natalie save him by defeating the demon and breaking the curse that traps him in the painting?
Darker Still is a book that really stands out from the sea of young adult paranormal romances out there. Both the setting (New York City in 1880) and the story (a demon who trapped someone in a painting) are very unique, as is the format, since the story is told through Natalie's diary. If you are like me and love young adult paranormal romance but are sick and tired of the endless modern vampire and werewolf books, I highly recommend this book, and I think fans of historical fiction would enjoy it as well.
Disclosure: Review copy provided by publisher.