My strongest reaction to Mythology really applies to the last quarter of the book, but I still think it’s the best way to start this review. So…for that nail-biting last quarter of the book, I continually found myself thinking, I did NOT expect this to be so freaking dark and gritty and intense. I knew it was a book about demons, but still… WHOA!And in case you were wondering, that’s a good thing. A very good thing!I think one reason the increasing intensity of Mythology surprised me is that the novel’s narrator, high-school senior Hope Gentry, has such a refreshingly down-to-earth voice. While Hope has had plenty of hardships in her life—from the very human tragedies of losing her parents and undergoing a traumatic sexual experience, to her more, well, supernatural abilities—her narration never becomes melodramatic or angsty, and Boswell’s writing is never too flowery or over-the-top. I found this a very welcome change compared to so many of the popular YA angel/demon books! The romance in Mythology is refreshingly different from the YA norm as well. Hope and her love interest, high-school transfer student Micah, are actually in a healthy relationship that, while it sparks quickly, develops and becomes stronger and deeper over time. Woo-hoo! What most impressed me was that, rather than creating a one-dimensional perfect love interest or a tortured bad boy, Boswell uses Micah’s character to explore complex questions of identity and fate. It’s hard to say too much without spoiling, but I loved the way so many aspects of this book, especially Micah’s development, grappled with the question of whether a person’s free will can overcome the circumstances they’re born to.Mythology also features complex and original world-building and memorable secondary characters, including my favorite, Jonathan! But I think what impressed me most—and contributed to that slow-building but ultimately deep intensity—was the way this fantasy novel included so much realism. I’ve already mentioned some of Hope’s issues—she’s a survivor of date rape, lost her parents at a young age, and lives with her older brother—but Micah’s struggles feel very realistic as well. His strong but increasingly complex relationships with his foster family, and his questions about his real father’s identity, may be tinged with the supernatural, but they’re still grounded in the difficulties so many teens really face.I think all of this realism, especially Hope’s experience with date rape, was what made the end so dark and really, truly scary for me (in a good way)! Again it’s hard to say too much without spoilers, but…the stakes just felt really high. And while the ending was very satisfactory, I still can’t wait for the sequel! So whether you’re a fan of YA fantasy/paranormal or not, I highly encourage you to pick this one up!