Publisher: Tor Teen
Format: ARC, Paperback
Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult
My rating: 5/5 stars
Synopsis 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….
First off, I HIGHLY recommend this exquisite book! It's so very rare to find a book that completely surprises me, and that is exactly what this one did. Dark Companion has a bit of a Jane Eyre feel going on, which is also mixed with mystery, folklore and supernatural elements. Marta Acosta has crafted such an intriguing novel with new and creative concepts that will most definitely surprise and awe you.
Jane is an orphan who is given a scholarship and a rare opportunity to escape her hard life and live up to her potential at the Birch Grove Academy for Girls, which is a very prestigious school. I really like Jane, she's a fighter and a hard worker whose past is marred with tragedy and heartache. She is a heroine that is impossible not to root for. She comes from a very rough place, and attending a fancy new school with privileged kids is quite an adjustment for her but she's determined to make the best of it. After spending some time in her new life, however, Jane has to wonder if it's all too good to be true--because she's noticing some pretty odd occurances and behavior within the community. Plus, things don't add up when she hears about the death of a faculty member and the hasty departure of a fellow scholarship girl.
Much like Jane, the reader is left in the dark throughout the progression of the plot, and there was always a touch of something lurking in every chapter that I just couldn't quite put my finger on. There are some puzzling and disturbing things that Jane allows herself to get manipulated into and all I wanted to do was scream at her in frustration because things felt so off, but at the same time I understood where her head was at in those situations. She also has to contend with the very obscure vibes and dialogue she gets from the headmistress' sons, Lucky and Jack. Jane has very different reactions and experiences with these boys. Lucky confides in her and gives her random attention, while Jack confuses her with his banter and tells her to get out of town.
Jane eventually gets some answers and gets pulled into something way bigger and extraordinary than she could have ever imagined. I'm not going to go into too much detail, because I don't want to give anything away, but I will say that the author's twist on a certain supernatural group is very refreshing and interesting. But that's only one of the many mysteries to be addressed throughout the book--Jane also uncovers answers to a past she thought she forgot, as well as startling information that no one else at the Academy knows. The ending was filled with jaw-dropping revelations and the promise of something spectacular.
On a lighter note, I have to mention how much I absolutely adore certain characters in this book! Aside from Jane, I was a huge fan of Jack from the very beginning. I wanted to slap Jane and tell her to go spend some more time with Jack, immediately! He was very vague at times and he frustrated Jane on several occasions, but he was always loyal, as well as funny and pretty darn sexy! But the character I wish I could have gotten more of is Mary Violet, who became fast friends with Jane when she came to Birch Grove. This chick is HILARIOUS!! You are guaranteed a laugh whenever her character is present, and she is definitely on my top five funniest characters list of all time! Her quirky French translations, clever poetry, and dramatics add some spice to the pages of this book, that's for sure.
So in case you couldn't tell, I'm completely in love with this book! I highly recommend Dark Companion to anyone looking for something new and amazing to read in the paranormal genre.
To conclude my review, I want to share some of my favorite quotes from the book:
"Why do the girls here say 'coitus' all the time?" -Jane
"Because you can tell someone to coitus off and you won't get detention." -Mary Violet
"I confided in you how Teagan Bartholomew stuck his tongue down my throat and then dropped trou with no warning whatsoever. After my mother's paintings, I'd assumed everyone had a hoo-ha and I was so shocked that I screamed. I thought he had a disfiguring tumorous growth. True story!" -Mary Violet
"When did you get so bossy? I kind of like it. Beat me, whip me, make me write bad checks."
"I'd like to slap the sass right out of you." -Jane
"Everyone's doing the dance-with-no-pants except for me." -Mary Violet