Sunday, July 15, 2012

Review: Dark Companion

Title: Dark Companion
Author: Marta Acosta

Book Summary:

“When foster teen Jane Williams is invited to attend elite Birch Grove Academy for Girls and escape her violent urban neighborhood, she thinks the offer is too good to be true.  She's even offered her own living quarters, the groundskeeper's cottage in the center of the birch grove.

Something's not quite right about the school -- or is it Jane?  She thinks she sees things in the birch grove at night.  She's also beginning to suspect that the elegant headmistress and her sons are hiding secrets.  Lucky is the gorgeous, golden son who is especially attentive to Jane, and Jack is the sardonic puzzling brother.

The school with its talented teachers and bright students is a dream for a science and math geek like Jane.  She also loves her new friends, including hilarious poetry-spouting rich girl, Mary Violet.  But the longer Jane stays at Birch Grove, the more questions she has about the disappearance of another scholarship girl and a missing faculty member.

Jane discovers one secret about Birch Grove, which only leads to more mysteries.  What is she willing to sacrifice in order to stay at this school...and be bound to Birch Grove forever?”

            Jane Williams suffers an abusive childhood at the hands of her step-dad.  After being removed from the traumatic situation, Jane represses the memories and goes about her life as a troubled orphan.  When she gets the chance to go to Birch Grove on a full scholarship, she doesn’t hesitate to go.  All to soon, Jane will realize that Birch Grove is housing mysterious secrets that will shake everyone’s lives, especially her own.

            I really like the story premise for Dark Companion; it sounds like a gothic novel that I would enjoy.  I really don’t read a lot of “gothic novels” because many books in the genre are too dark for me to enjoy.  I am definitely interested in the mystery that is surrounding Birch Grove, and it goes a long way to draw my attention to the book. 

            When I first meet Jane, I am stunned by the attention to detail and how Acosta has fleshed-out the character.  Jane seems to jump off the pages and come alive while I’m reading.  Her initial attitude at the adoption house makes me wonder if she might be tough to relate to, but I soon come to see just how driven and determined she is to succeed.  I am so glad when Jane gets the scholarship to Birch Grove and has the chance to start over again. 

            This book features two very different boys, who happen to be brothers.  Jack is infuriating and thoughtful, while Lucky is flattering and easygoing.  Jane has no question as to which brother she likes, but it is still fun to watch their antics.  I am disappointed by Jane’s interaction with Lucky.  She allows herself to be put in situations that she wouldn’t want anyone else to be in, and she doesn’t even seem to recognize it.  Personally, I think her character is stronger than that! 

            I am really glad that I took the opportunity to read Dark Companion.  It gave me a fresh new look at the paranormal and introduced gothic literature in a way that didn’t turn me off.  I will definitely read more of this genre in the future.  I am very pleased with the ending and would love it if Acosta ever decides to write a sequel!  Dark Companion is definitely a book that I recommend.

The Cover:

            What can I say about this cover?  It’s a girl in a BEAUTIFUL dress surrounded by a forest.  A dark, bare, lonely looking forest.  The effect it gives is eerily haunting and altogether stunning.  I thought the cover was very fitting to the book!

I give Dark Companion 4.5 out of 5 hearts: Very Highly Recommended


  1. I agree that Jane really jumps off the pages. She seemed so real. And I feel like the author really gave us a look at her life before she moved away which often doesn't happen in books. Usually the character moves and that's it we don't hear about their old life ever again. I was a little grossed out by Lucky's secret, but everyone's gotta have at least one flaw right? lol.

  2. Wow!! A 5-star-er! And this is a really great review <333 I agree...this premise is definitely quite intriguing! I don't usually read gothic novels either; in fact, I'm not quite sure what exactly falls in that category O_O And if it's a pleasing ending for all this goodness, I shall definitely add this one to my TBR list! <3

    Vivian @ Vivaciously, Vivian

  3. This book totally surprised me, I was so impressed with with how smart they are and the genetic anomaly to justify their vampirism.

  4. I love gothic novels, so I'm really looking forward to reading this!

  5. I'm a sucker for covers with pretty dresses. :)

    I'm a bit wary of the love triangle (especially with brothers) but I think I'll try this book out all the same.

  6. I just read another positive review of this one recently and I am really intrigued! I personally LOVE Gothic style reads and I hear this one has some tie ins to the classic Jane Eyre, of which I am a HUGE fan! I am definitely bumping this one up on my TBR list:) Great review, Lauren!