by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Ethan drams about him and a girl falling through a muddy hole. She calls fro him as they reach out for each other. As he looses her, he smells rosemary and lemon. Amma calls upstairs to wake him up for school. He tries to shake off the dream, but finds his sheets covered in mud, just like the last time he had the same dream. He listens to a mysterious song on his iPod he has never heard before. Amma calls up again and he goes to clean himself off, trying to forget that he seems to be growing crazy and falling in love with a girl who doesn’t exist. He is fed breakfast and affectionately teased by Amma before his best friend, Link, comes to pick him up for school. Ethan asks Link put a new song on his iPod called “Sixteen Moons,” but Link says that he did not as he goes to put on some new music. Ethan sees an unfamiliar (which is strange in his small town) car that looks like a hearse.
The boys stop at the Stop N Shop on their way to school and arrive late. Miss Hester writes out their detention slips and sends them on their way. Later in the day, Link informs Ethan that there is a new girl in their class. At lunch, the cheerleaders that hang out with Ethan and his basketball team describe her and gossip about how she is the town shut-in’s niece. Ethan can’t wait to graduate so he can leave Gatlin behind. The new girl drives by their after-school basketball practice in her uncle’s hearse, and Ethan hopes of talking to someone who understands him.
Amma is mad at Ethan for being late to school. She had raised his father and was also the most respected tarot card reader around. Ethan tries to have a conversation with his dad, but he has avoided him since Ethan’s mom died five months ago. Ethan remembers reading one of his father’s manuscripts (gothic horror) and getting yelled at, along with some happier memories of fishing. Ethan meets up with the basketball players before school for their weekly meeting. Lena, crazy old Ravenwood’s niece, walks down the hall and everyone stares. Emory makes a comment about her being a freak and Ethan sticks up for her. Lena is transferred to Ethan’s english class. Emily kicks her books and takes one that looks like a journal. Ethan takes it from Emily, gives it back to Lena, and sits in the seat next to her. He notices that she has 156 written on her hand. She doesn’t talk to Ethan, even after class to thank him. Ethan goes to ceramics and can hear the band playing. He hears a violin or viola playing the “Sixteen Moons” song from his iPod, but the words have changed in his head. Ethan has his reoccurring dream of falling with the girl and loosing her (which started when his mom died). When he comes back to the classroom, his clay has a handprint too small to be his. After class, he runs down to the band room and asks the teacher who was playing. He already knows when he smells the rosemary and lemon, but the teacher confirms it was Lena. Ethan asks Link to borrow his car. Link hands over the keys, reminding him of the trouble he will be in for skipping practice. Ethan knows, but takes the keys and leaves anyway.
Ethan drives through the rain as the storm gets closer. “Sixteen Moons” comes on the stereo. Suddenly someone is in front of his car. He gets out and sees Lena. Then he realizes that she is the girl from his dreams. She even has his fingernail marks on her wrist. However, she doesn’t seem to know what he is talking about. Eventually, she agrees to let him take her home because her uncle’s car broke down. It is an awkward drive. Ethan asks why she moved to Gatlin. Lena explains that she normally lives with her grandma, who is away for a few months, so she is staying with her uncle. They arrive at Ravenwood Manor and Lena tells Ethan not to walk her to the door because her uncle is shy. They chat a little before Ethan points out that their english teacher has a glass eye and Lena sat on the wrong side to avoid answering questions. Lena says she likes to talk before going inside.
Ethan sits next to Lena in English (like he has all week) after accidentally running into her on his way in. Emily and two other girls sit by him and give her a hard time. Ethan tries to protect Lena and starts hearing her answering thoughts in his head. After answering a question, Lena starts writing 151 on her hand. Emily’s group continues to make comments about Lena and her uncle. She gets up to sharpen her pencil and Ethan keeps hearing her tell them to shut up in his head. The window shatters and Lena looks horrified before leaving the room. The girls start saying that Lena did it to kill them.
Ethan goes after Lena. She tells him not to, but he gets the keys from Link and leaves anyway. He gets to the door of Ravenwood manor and knocks. Figuring he was wrong about where Lena went, he goes to leave, but then he hears “Sixteen Moons.” There are carvings on the lintel above the door. When he pushes on one of the symbols, the door opens. Ethan goes in and calls for Lena, and then Mr. Ravenwood. A dog appears behind him and growls. He runs outside and down a gravel path until he comes to a wall. He smells lemons and finds Lena in the garden. He tries to explain that those girls are stupid and jealous of her. She wants to be given a chance. They talk about book a little before Ethan asks her what happened. Lena explains that she doesn’t know why, but strange things happen around her. She didn’t think the boy from her dreams was real, but didn’t want to drag Ethan into her complicated mind when she found out. He grabs her hand and something on the ground with his other hand. They are sucked into a vision of civil war times and a girl named Genevieve running to Greenbriar because the North was coming to burn it down. They come out of the vision and Ethan picks up the locket that started it. Inscribed inside is “Greenbriar - February 11, 1865.” Lena drops the locket. Her birthday is February 11 and she doesn’t believe in coincidences. There are initials on the back, “ECW & GKD.” Lena tries to tell Ethan to leave her alone before something goes wrong. Ethan is determined not to give up.
Amma is furious when Ethan comes home because he ran out of school and missed practice. He tries to give her a peace offering in the form of a mystery, but when she sees the locket, she freaks out. She has him pack it in a charm and tells him to bury it where he found it right away. Ethan gets ready to visit his great Aunts (dubbed “the Sisters”) like he does every Saturday. He is hoping they can tell him about the locket. They confirm that it was Greenbriar where he found it. When he tells them the date, they describe the Great Burning - every plantation in Gatlin was at least partially burned except Ravenwood. He ask about Macon (Lena’s uncle) and they tell him that he and his brother were illegitimate. When they were with their father, he would beat them. They also mention the wolf that was kept as a pet and a man in a tall black hat that would wander around the house. They point out that the handkerchief the locket was wrapped in belonged to a card reader named Sulla Treadeau (Amma’s great-great grandmother). He asks about the initials and finds out that ECW was his great (x4) uncle, Ethan Carter Wate, who’s grandfather, Ellis, had two brothers, Ethan and Lawson (but he had never heard of the former). Ethan Carter Wate was a deserter and stricken from the family tree. The Sisters can’t seem to place the initials GKD. At church, Ethan plays with the locket. Lena is in his head telling him to stop, but it is too late. Ethan is taken back to see Ethan Carter Wate find Genevieve in the woods and telling her her that he deserted because he didn’t believe in what they were fighting for. She still agrees to marry him. The Greenbrier cook comes along and tells Genevieve that the union soldiers burnt down their house with her mother and sister still inside.
Ethan talks to Lena in his mind until she answers. she doesn’t want him to figure all the weirdness out, but he intends to anyway. That night, he dreams of drowning, Lena telling him he has to let her go because it is her birthday, and her slipping away again. He wakes up soaked. Amma warns him again to stay away from Lena over breakfast. Link picks up Ethan and warns him about his mom and the other ladies that run the town going crazy over Lena and the broken window. A few of the mothers are at school talking to the principal. Ethan finds Lena hiding in her car. He cheers her up with a bit of joking. They talk about their shared dream. Lena doesn’t know why they have this connection. Lena decides to go home. Mrs. Lincoln (Link’s mom) comes over and tells Ethan they are going to offer Lena a transfer because she doesn’t belong there. The rest of the day goes strangely normal. When Ethan gets home, he lies and tells Amma he is going to the library with Link for a project. He then ends up at the Ravenwood door with a flimsy excuse of bringing Lena her homework assignment. He suggests they talk to Macon about the locket. Macon overhears from behind Ethan and invites him in for dinner. When he goes inside, Ethan notices that the house is completely different than the last time he saw it. Lena keeps telling him it is a bad idea for him to stay and trying to keep her uncle from rousing Ethan’s suspicions. At dinner, Ethan pulls out the locket to show Macon. The lights go out and Macon freaks out, saying Lena shouldn’t have dragged Ethan into it. He scolds her for going to Greenbriar where he can’t protect her. Macon leaves the room after telling Ethan not to bring the locket into his house again. As Lena is rushing Ethan out, they notice the locket in a portrait of a woman. Lena says the locket wasn’t in the picture before.
Ethan drives Lena to a place where they can talk. She refuses to tell him anything because she doesn’t want to loose her only friend. She takes him home and drives off. As Ethan is lying in bed, trying to not think about it, Lena invades his head and tells him to come outside. She explains that her family has powers. They are casters. Ethan wants to run, to stay, to kiss her. He settles for acting like the situation isn’t a big deal and sits on the porch talking with Lena until the sun starts coming up.
Ethan and Lena attempt to do homework, but Lena is writing poems in her notebook and Ethan is trying to get up the courage to ask her out. When he does, Lena is distracted by his dirty spoon used as a book mark. He explains that he picked up the habit from his mom. Lena explains that everything on her necklace is a memory. She agrees to go see a movie with him. When Friday comes along, Lena is annoyed that Ethan is late for the movie because she was left alone to deal with the kids from school. Link leaves them alone and they go to the back tow to get away from Emily. Lena reaches into Ethan’s pocket for Milk-duds and finds the locket. She drops it, they argue a bit, and both go to pick it up. They are sucked back into a vision. Genevieve runs into the house to find her mother and sister. A union soldier grabs her and drags her down the stairs. There are gunshots and Ethan falls dead on the ground. Back in reality, the movie is ending and Ethan and Lena are dealing with watching a man die.
The basketball team gives Ethan a hard time for hanging out with Lena, especially when he tries to get her to sit with them at lunch. After school, Ethan is with the team about to go into the Stop N Shop. A hot girl jumps out of a convertible and tells him her name is Ridley. She is Lena’s cousin, in town for a family gathering, and sent to get him. He gets in her car and tells her things he has only told Lena. Once they arrive at Ravenwood, Ridley takes Ethan’s arm and he lets them in with the secret button. Lena’s family seems surprised that Ridley is there. Macon is furious and tells Ridley to take Ethan to the dinning room. Lena sees them and freaks out, telling her to leave. Ridley points out that in a few months, Lena could go dark like she did. Maven insists that Lena is a Natural. Ridley points out that she was just like Lena a year ago. Ethan starts to freeze and sees Ridley becoming more monstrous. Lena literally blows her out the door with what looks like a tornado. Ethan blacks out and when he wakes up in Lena’s room in her bed, he reads what she has written al over her walls. He sees her and asks what happened. She explains that she can’t control her powers like other casters her age and describes her family member’s individual powers. She tells Ethan that she and Ridley grew up like sisters until Ridley felt herself going dark and left. Lena’s family doesn’t have a choice: when they turn 16, they know their true name and are claimed by light or dark. Normally kids don’t live with their parents because it is too hard to turn them away if they go dark. Lean doesn’t know what happened to her parents and suspect they were dark. Ethan finally kisses her. After a minute, she pulls back and explains that she only has 122 days left before she is claimed and doesn’t want him to see her go dark. Ethan already knows it is to late for him.
Back in his own bed, Ethan wakes from a dream of Lena being blow away by the wind. He hears a noise downstairs and goes to see if he has a chance to talk to his dad. Instead he finds Amma sneaking out into the mailman’s old car. He takes his mom’s Volvo and follows her to the swamp where her house is. She goes further to the graveyard where her family is buried. Macon is there to talk to her about keeping Ethan and Lena apart. She says the spirits don’t show them finding the locket for a reason and then asks them about a powerful dark caster who Amma refuses to hear or say the name of. She knows she will try to contact Lena. She gets no answers. Amma and Macon agree to save both mortals and casters, but they are damned if Lena goes dark. Macon insists Ethan has powers or else Ridley wouldn’t have been able to enter his house. Amma denies it and gives him a charm to protect Lena.
Lena picks up Ethan, but instead of going to school, she takes him to the water tower. instead of making out like a normal couple, Ethan tells Lena about the previous night. She doesn’t want to hear it, but Ethan insists. he grabs her and the locket, but it kicks them out of the vision. Ethan realizes it is because of the bracelet from Amma. He takes it off her wrist and the vision starts. Genevieve tries to heal Ethan like she has used her power to do for so many other living things, but he dies. Lena and Ethan return and see the other Ethan’s blood in the grass. They wonder what secret the locket holds that Amma and Macon are trying to keep from them. Lena says they know she is going to go dark. Ethan says they will find a way to stop it.
A few days later, Ethan walks by the study and wonders if the door is locked (as usual) while his dad is in the shower. The door unlocks itself and Amma appears, warning him from going in, saying that not even a ghost (except his mom) would go in there. Amma suggests he studies and he goes to meet Lena at the library. They go inside and find Marian who takes them back to her private archive. No one but her and Ethan’s mom were allowed access. Marian shows them pieces of he last project together - tracing the Duchannes’ (Lena’s) family tree. they see a picture of the painting that hangs in Ravenwood Manor. Marion tells them it is of Genevieve. Ethan decides to show her the locket and drags her into a vision. Genevieve asks Ivy for the Book of Moons. Ivy takes her to it in a crypt and takes it back to Ethan’s body. She opens it to a cast called “to bind death to life.” Ivy warns Genevieve that it is unnatural and she will have to pay a price, but Genevieve doesn’t care. Lena breaks the connection, positive that the locket is telling her to stay away from Ethan to protect him. Marian tells her to calm down and explains that she is the keeper (a neutral mortal that keeps caster records and the caster library, but cannot interfere). He asks her to take him to the library, but she can’t because he isn’t a caster. Lena wants to go and Marian says she will take her the next time it is open (holidays when the mortal library is closed).
Halloween rolls around and Ethan forgets that the entire team was supposed to dress like cheerleaders (he’s been too busy going through Ethan and Genevieve’s letters with Lena). The cheerleaders all dress up like witches with Lena’s crescent moon birthmark drawn on their cheeks. Lean switches the eyeliner for sharpie and they can’t get the mark off. Her family is coming in from all over for the holiday. Ethan passes out candy Amma leaves because it is a good night for her business. There is a knock on the door later at night and Mrs. Lincoln is there with brownies. the door keeps bolting itself shut, but Ethan eventually gets the door open. Mrs. Lincoln wants to talk, but Ethan and the house refuse to let her in. She hits a barrier when she tries and drops the brownies. She turns and leaves. Later, Ethan is woken up by Lena screaming in pain. He drives to Ravenwood feeling her pain the whole time. Boo (the dog) leads him past the guests to where the family is trying to help Lena. Ethan breaks past them and struggles to grab Lena. When he does, the torturing cast is dissipated. Every one is shocked. They talk about Ethan, and that Sarafine will be coming for Lena. Arelia confirms that Ethan is mortal and he is what has been protecting Lena. They wake up the next morning in Lena’s room (Ethan on the floor by her bed). His alarm goes off and plays “Sixteen Moons.” She turns it off and exclaims that she wants to be normal, not to have everything about her. Ethan says he’s fallen for her and her response appears on the wall. Ethan thinks the dark casters are after her because she is going to go light. They start kissing and everything goes dark for Ethan. Ryan comes in and heals him.
Ethan and Lena spend all the time they can together. Amma invites Lena to Thanksgiving dinner. In the middle of it, time stops and everyone is frozen except Lena and Amma. The seer tells Lena that Sarafine is her mother and she is coming for her. She tells her to put the bracelet back on because she’ll beed all the help she can get. When time starts up again, Ethan makes an exclamation that lets Amma know he heard the whole conversation. After dinner, Ethan takes Lena home and she storms inside and yells at Macon for the truth. She wants to know everything. Macon doesn’t know how much, so he suggests they go to the library.
Marian takes them to the caster library (Domus Lunae Libri) entrance under the Historical Society. She tells Ethan not to touch anything and they must be out by six am. When Ethan asks if his mom was ever there, Marian tells him that she was the one to pass the job onto her. They go inside and Marian explains the set up (a giant circle w/spokes that don’t seem to end). They decide to use the locket to find the book and Marian joins in watching the vision. Genevieve casts the spell and Ethan comes back for a moment before dying again. Ivy notices that Genevieve’s eyes have changed from green to yellow catlike slits and takes her to ask the spirits what happened. The price Genevieve paid was to be claimed by dark. The book would decide every Duchannes fate on their sixteenth birthday. They break away from the vision to be confronted by Macon and Amma. Lena is drifting and her body lies on the table, empty. Macon tries to travel to her, but can’t help. Ethan kisses her and tells her to come back and she does. She goes to Macon, who is drained from trying to help. Macon and Amma reprimand the kids for being in the library and start arguing with each other. Ethan brings up the book and Marian tells him it has been lost for over a hundred years.
Mrs. Lincoln and the other moms continue their plot to get Lena out of school. They are anding out flyers for the Guardian Angels (a group against violence). Emily tires to give Ethan a flyer and Mrs. Lincoln brings up what his mom would’ve thought. His mom would’ve been proud and he says so before they go into the school. Lena blows the flyers away.
Ethan visits the Sisters. While they are talking, they give him the idea that the book they are looking for might be buried with Genevieve.
On the premise of a birthday party for Aunt Del, the family gathers at Ravenwood. Aunt Del, Reece, Ethan, and Lena go for a walk to the graveyard to supposedly get a rubbing of Genevieve’s gravestone for school. They see the ghost of Genevieve by her grave. Lena trips and Reece reads the truth on her face. Ethan starts digging. Lena convinces Aunt Del to show them if the book is with Genevieve and find that Ivy threw it on top of her casket. Genevieve’s ghost tells them to take it, so Ethan digs it up. Reece threatens to tell Macon, so Lena removes the book from her and Aunt Del’s memory. Ethan goes to replace the book with the locket, but Genevieve’s ghost says it doesn’t belong with her.
They go through the book while Macon sleeps. They read about what the claiming is like for normal casters and Lena explains what Reece said it was like for her. At school, Link brings up the Winter Formal. Ethan and Lena not only decide that they are going, but that they are officially a couple. He wants to make sure she gets to do all of the high school normal things before she is claimed.
Ethan picks up Lena and they go to the dance. While having their picture taken, someone dumps some kind of soapy water on them. Ridley is there as Link’s date and decides to take her revenge. She busts all the lights, sets off the sprinklers, and collapses the backdrops. Ethan takes Lena home and Macon is furious, asking Ethan why he didn’t get Lena out of there as soon as he saw Ridley. The then explains that Boo is his eyes around town, literally, he can use Boo’s eyes to see what he sees.
Ethan takes Lena to her meeting with the school board. They are about to expel her when Macon and Marian arrive. He reveals that he does have power and can completely change their town. He reveals a few secrets and points out that the town isn’t exactly full of honest people. The school board director agrees to investigate the accusations against Lena.
As Lena’s birthday quickly approaches, she starts becoming distant until she breaks up with Ethan. Link tells Ethan over lunch that he is going to New York with Ridley for winter break. Ethan is lonely and goes to the library to ask Marian if he could go into the archive. he finds fresh rosemary marking his mom’s favorite recipe in a book and asks to borrow it. marian says his mom would’ve wanted him to have her books. When he goes outside, it is snowing. He goes home to find Lena on his porch, the snow a peace offering. Before Lena leaves, Ethan takes her to his dad’s study and the door unlocks. He goes inside and finds that his dad hasn’t been writing, just trying to be close to his wife’s things. Ethan and Lena find a message from his mom in her books, telling Lena to claim herself. While Ethan is setting up his mom’s Christmas town, he finds the star topper to a pipe cleaner tree she made as a child. He gives it to Lena for her necklace.
Ethan searches through the book to find out how Lena can claim herself. He promises her that she will never loose him.
Ethan wakes up form another dream of Lena being torn away from him. Macon is in his room. He explains to his niece’s boyfriend that he is an incubus and has been feeding on Ethan’s dreams so that he won’t know what happens Amma comes in and tells Macon to leave. Ethan wants to know the end of the dream, but Macon insists that he is protecting Lena and him because she isn’t ready to see it.
They continue to look through the book for answers. Lena tries a locator cast, but ends up setting a tree on fire. she starts loosing hope as her birthday draws nearer. She stops going to school and eventually stops talking to Ethan. Link tells him that he and Ridley are throwing Lena a birthday party. Ethan is skeptical. The whole town prepares for their reenactment of the Battle of Honey Hill.
Lena hides in her room from her family. Ethan goes to talk to her and gives her his mom’s necklace as a birthday present. They go downstairs and the family (including her grandma) are there for the binding to keep Lena safe until the claiming. The whole scene changes into a regular birthday party when there is a knock on the door. Ridley pulled off the party and all the kids from school are outside. Macon refuses to let Lena go, but she sneaks out anyway with Larkin’s help. Links band is good (which is unusual) and everyone has a great time. Ethan and Lena say that they love each other.
Link finds Ethan in the crowd to tell him his father is about to jump off of the museum. When they get to him, Ridley is there stalling Ethan. Her job was to get him away from Lena. Link says something that keeps Ridley from killing him.
Ethan and Link run back to the house and hear Larkin call fro them. they approach Lena but are brought up short by Sarafine in Mrs. Lincoln’s body. Sarafine tells Lena that she has a choice because she is the second natural in the family. However, whichever side she chooses will kill all the casters on the other side. Uncle Macon confirms this. He didn’t tell her earlier because he know she would choose light and didn’t want her to worry about killing him. Sarafine says that if she chooses Dark, there is a way for her to be with Ethan without killing him.
Macon’s brother, Hunting, attacks him and eventually bites him, draining his life and then strangles Boo. Lena sends Ethan for help, but he can’t get into Ravenwood Manor. Link takes him to the caster Library where he tells Marion that he needs to deliver a book to Macon. She takes them through the tunnels to Ravenwood. Lena’s Grandma borrow’s Ryan’s powers and Aunt Del leads the way through the tunnels to Greenbriar. Grandma helps the wounded. Ethan hears Lena say she is on top of the crypt, but while climbing up, Sarafine reveals she was in his head. She stabs him in the stomach. Lena freezes time and strikes her foes with lightning, making them disappear. Amma shows up. The moon is gone and according to Amma, that means that Lena can’t be claimed. Amma helps Lena perform the same cast Genevieve had tried to use to save her Ethan. Macon’s life is traded for Ethan’s as payment for the cast.
Ethan thinks that Macon died while fighting his brother because he was weaker from not feeding on blood. He is sad for Lena’s loss, but glad that she will have someone to help her through it. “Seventeen Moons” plays on his iPod.