- Received from Tor Teen for review
Summary from GoodReads:
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 received Dark Companion by Marta Acosta in the mail from Tor Teen and, I admit, I was hesitant at the idea of yet another vampire book – not to mention one that has the dreaded Twilight word for comparison on the back. But then I started to read it and I was impressed – something that surprised me very much given all my pre-conceptions.
Dark Companion is a mix between a paranormal gothic and a boarding school novel. There are rich, privileged kids – but none of the snobbery that i’d come to expect, which was a pleasant surprise. There are good relationships, explanations that made sense, and – this is the most important of all folks – a destructive relationship that is not sugar-coated and made to look like it’s the end all, be all of relationships.
I think what I enjoyed the most about this book is that Jane struggles with herself and recognizes, through the tools she’s gained from her very “Jane Eyre”-esque past, that something isn’t right. I loved that there were explanations which made the schools lack of technology plausible, and that I, as a reader, was not just being treated with a heavy hand by the author.
I think Dark Companion is a book that will appeal to those lovers of gothic and boarding school novels out there, and may just do a little bit to redeem the vampire craze by providing us with a book that was intelligent, interesting, intriguing, and even funny when it needed to be.
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