Dark Companion by Marta Acosta

Thursday, 21 June 2012.

Dark Companion

Dark Companion by Marta Acosta
Publication Date: 3rd July 2012
By: Tor/MacMillan
ASIN: B007IM0H06
Source: Netgalley/
Target Audience: YA

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Dark Companion is a gothic novel, creepy and dark at times but totally thrilling throughout. Shrouded in mystery and suspense, keeping me glued to the pages.

Jane, a foster child in a group home, in a violent neighbourhood, gets a scholarship to an exclusive girls school, Birch Grove Academy. She moves into a cottage on the school grounds, that is surrounded by birch trees. Jane loves it as she's always felt an affinity to the trees. But at night, she sometimes feels nervous as it can be quite creepy surrounded by trees in the dark.

The headmistress of the school and her family also live on the grounds of the school so it's not too long before Jane meets her two sons, Lucky and Jack. Lucky is totally hot and Jane develops an almost instant crush. Of course, she is sure he will never be interested in her as she is just "plain Jane". She develops an odd type of relationship with Jack where she feels that he doesn't like her. She feels that he laughs at her a lot and keeps telling her about his great and beautiful girlfriend Hatti, who becomes one of Jane's close friends. Jane also makes friends with Mary Violet and Constance. The three girls are really nice and make Jane feel very welcome at the school. Mary Violet especially is really great and the interactions with her were always fun.

Jane herself, was a really good character. She has pulled herself up from the bottom of the barrel by knuckling down to hard work and by learning to ask for help when she needed it, even though people would laugh at her. She has led quite a violent life, and actually died when she was six years old but was brought back to life. Her mother is dead and she never knew her father so when her mother died when she was six, she entered the foster care system. She has been shipped around for the last ten years, finally landing in the group home where she has been for the last four years. Her best friend from the home, Wilde, is a prostitute and a drug addict. Jane teaches herself SAT words to expand her vocabulary and changes the way she speaks from something like ghetto slang to that befitting a "young lady". When she first arrives at Birch Grove, she is nervous and unsure, but with the help of the headmistress, Lucky, Jack and her three new girlfriends, she soon finds herself settling in.

Lucky and Jack were both interesting, very different, characters. I really liked Jack from the start and even though Jane feels as though he is always quite mean to her, I didn't see it that way. Lucky starts off seeming like a great guy, but its not long before he is showing his true colours. Someone who is selfish and completely self centred, with a lot of growing up to do. I wasn't crazy about him at times during the book and I didn't like the type of person Jane was around him. He seemed to bring out her weaknesses.

But, Birch Grove is hiding a big secret and when Jane discovers what it is, she's not sure she wants any part of it. Then there is the mystery of the missing student and the teacher who supposedly killed herself. Both of these were, like Jane, scholarship students previously. This makes Jane anxious to get to the bottom of what happened to them, for fear that maybe she's next. The climax of this plays out really well and ties up some loose ends.

I really enjoyed Marta's writing and Dark Companion captured my attention from the off. I couldn't wait to find out Birch Grove's secrets. I did have some idea as to what we were meeting with here, I was right somewhat, it was a different take than I have ever read before.

This book is stand alone which I was disappointed by as I didn't feel I was ready to say goodbye to the awesome characters yet. I know I will still be thinking about them for a while. The book did end really well though and the result was very satisfying.

Add it to your TBR on Goodreads

Buy the book: Amazon/The Book Depository


The Teen Book Guru said...

Great review, Suzanne!! This book seems really great. And so does Jack!! I have a feeling that Jane is going to start liking him. And I also have a feeling that he is going to like her back, oor even already does. I love the sound of this book!! It seems so creepy and awesome. And, the cover?? O.o Holy macaroni I LOVE it! Great review, sweetie. :)

Katja Weinert said...

wow, that's pretty unusual to be a standalone, kind of respect an author for being able to say good bye to their characters so quickly. Sounds like a really good novel, thanks for sharing.

Sam @ Realm of Fiction said...

Oh I didn't realise this was a stand alone. I tend to prefer series for books I enjoy, but I'll have to see what I make of this first. I'm glad you liked it, Suzanne! I'll have to read this soon. Great review!

DonnasReviews said...

Wow, it's a stand alone? I didn't know that. I actually started this book and put it down because I wasn't in the mood. I'm glad you liked it though Suzanne. Great review and hopefully I'll pick it up soon.

Rachelanbig said...

There's a lot of mix reviews on this one. Glad you enjoyed it Suzanne. Sometimes I'm glad there's not sequel and the story just wraps up. Waiting one year in between books can be torture. Great review. :)

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