Title: Dark Companion
Author: Marta Acosta
Reviewed by: Cassie
The Fairies Say: Compelling and captivating!
Summary (from BN.com)
Orphaned at the age of six, Jane Williams has grown up in a series of foster homes, learning to survive in the shadows of life. Through hard work and determination, she manages to win a scholarship to the exclusive Birch Grove Academy. There, for the first time, Jane finds herself accepted by a group of friends. She even starts tutoring the headmistress's gorgeous son, Lucien. Things seem too good to be true.
The more she learns about Birch Grove's recent past, the more Jane comes to suspect that there is something sinister going on. Why did the wife of a popular teacher kill herself? What happened to the former scholarship student, whose place Jane took? Why does Lucien's brother, Jack, seem to dislike her so much?
As Jane begins to piece together the answers to the puzzle, she must find out why she was brought to Birch Grove-and what she would risk to stay there.
I was a bit disappointed in Dark Companion, honestly. I was taken surprise by Marta Acosta's story but I should have expected it. Jane's journey is what is described; dark and mysterious. Just what is going on in this supposedly perfect neighborhood? Why was she chosen, the "ordinary" girl?
First off, I dislike it when authors say the main character is ordinary. If she was, then obviously this stuff wouldn't be happening to her, now would it? Second, I was disappointed by Jane's character. On the back, this is the excerpt we get:
"WHEN PEOPLE MET ME, they saw an unassuming, hardworking, well-spoken girl. But inside I was still shrieking with rage for everything that I'd had to do merely to have the crumbs that others carelessly dropped.
I pressed down my fury until it metamorphosed, as soft messy carbonate does, into a diamond-a diamond so hard it could cut through steel and with such clarity that I could use it as a lens to see the world as it truly was, cruel and capricious.
It was a rage that got me to Birch Grove Academy for Girls and out of Hellsdale. I nestled into my bed, knowing that rage would help me survive here, too."
I may be wrong, but doesn't everyone like a slightly manic, very angry, and all around awesomely pissed main character? Most of the time we don't get that, but I was hoping I could get some awesome book-coffee that resembles that coffee people pay hundreds of dollars per ounce. And it's actually made from some animal's excrement. You know what I'm talking about? Just search up "most expensive coffee" and I'm sure you'll be good.
Anyways, we don't get that. Jane's a cool kid but she wasn't angry. She is extremely smart and finds comfort in the logic of things. She doesn't like having to do things based off of opinions rather than reason and she kind of resents these Birch Grove girls who take their wealth for granted. She feels like she doesn't belong and that she's too plain.
Dark Companion starts off with Jane practically giving her old community the finger and saying "good riddance, Hellsdale!" Now that- that would have made me pee myself in amusement. No, she's rather level-headed and thinks "good God I'm outta this place". She's slightly sad to see it go but knows she must if she wants to succeed- and then she feels shabby in the car she's picked up in.
As far as characters go, I think my favorite was either her best friend Mary Violet or the-extremely-handsome-Abercrombie-model (aka Lucky/Lucien)'s brother, JACK!
Mary Violet is a girl who loves expressing herself. She throws her arms out and belts out one of her poems. She fantasizes about her future and loves mystery and new ideas. She's bubbly, but not in a fake-bubbly & secretly-deep way. I liked that.
Jack is a boy who is wildly artistic and he plays the guitar. What's that, you say? He plays the guitar? Oh yes, he does indeed. And he's got wild black hair and vivid green eyes. And he teases Jane relentlessly and grounds her with his joking. What's that? You want to read about him? Good choice.
Now we tarnish ourselves with the "bad" characters... Well actually there's just one. But still.
Lucien Radcliffe, aka Lucky, is the type of boy who could model for Abercrombie effortlessly, even when he's slouching moodily. He's also the kind of boy who knows this, and dated the whole junior class of girls when he was a freshmen. Hmm. Yes, I'm telling you now that he's a womanizer. And the girls seem to love him because of that, and our sensible, smart Jane can't stop thinking about him. He makes her feel desperate and helpless, even though he's just a pretty boy (with just as pretty manners) and not a man with a gun.
And I'm telling you right now, he didn't do it for me. I would slushie him if I could.
Like so ^^
Overall, it's really captivating and dark but in an unexpected way. I thought Lucky would be this deep, sexy guy who is drop-dead yummy, but alas, no. I thought- no, I didn't know what I thought this story was going to be about. So when I found out what it was about, I was surprised. It's sort of a recycled idea, but Marta Acosta twists it so it's totally creative and new. It's a wonderful book that I highly recommend for Halloween, guys! There are some pretty creepy parts in this book.
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Au revoir! Hope to see you again!