A modern retelling of the German fairytale "Tristan and Isolde", Tris and Izzie is about a young witch named Izzie who is dating Mark King, the captain of the basketball team and thinks her life is going swimmingly well. Until -- she makes a love potion for her best friend Brangane and then ends up taking it herself accidentally, and falling in love with Tristan, the new guy at school
Isn't this the most GORGEOUS cover? Doesn't it make you want this on your shelf as a face-out display? I know that I would. It's truly stunning and I have to give a HUGE round of applause to the designers of this gorgeous cover because it makes you want to pick it up. It makes you want to buy it. But what's on the inside? Well, that's less than impressive and more than a little disappointing.
From the start, this book has almost a mocking feel to it. I felt like the author didn't really give her audience enough credit. The characters were shallow. The main character, Isolde (or Izzie), is flaky and self-centered. From the beginning, all she seems concerned about is having the perfect star-athlete boyfriend and being beautiful. She doesn't even have a solid relationship with her "best friend," Branna, whom she treats like she's "beneath" her and needs her help. There were a lot of opportunities with Branna and Tristan to create solid, realistic characters but I felt like it didn't happen. Branna ends up being almost as shallow as Izzie with her little ultimate revenge truth serum, Tristan is just eye-candy for Izzie to fall in love with for some unknown reason (except that he's beautiful), and Mark is the perfect Romeo boyfriend who doesn't really know what he wants.
I really wish that this story would have played up the magic and the fighting and Izzie's path to learning about her magic because when we got to THAT stuff I enjoyed the book much more. I struggled less to keep reading after Izzie discovers that she does actually have magic. From that point on, the action picked up and during the big fight scene, I actually like Izzie for a few minutes, which tells me that this story really did have a lot of potential that it didn't quite capitalize on.
This book, overall, probably could have been a lot better if it wasn't trying to be a modern retelling of Tristan and Isolde. It has some potential as contemporary fantasy if the focus would have been changed to the magic and the action instead of the flaky characters and their shallow relationships.
[That being said, I've heard phenomenal things about this author's other YA books, so start with those! If you're interested in this book, my recommendation is to check it out from your local library before the cover lures you into buying it yourself.]