Release Date: July 3, 2012
Challenges: Debut Author Challenge
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?
Dark Companion by Marta Acosta was a really interesting read for me. There were some aspects I quite liked, while others I was left sitting, pondering over what had just happened.
The beginning was intriguing, yet I found it a bit off. It was very disjointed. This changes after several chapters, and then I was on board for Dark Companion. The lack of information readers are given really inspired me to keep reading, I couldn’t wait to figure out what would happen and what this whole eerie set up would lead to. Yet, I found the set up to be a bit off, some things just didn’t quite make sense.
Things were going great for a while, and then I hit the middle of the book. For me, a lot of this was like the car crash you just can’t look away from. I had so many issues with the morals of the middle of the book and the totally abusive relationship going on. There was a really cool dark gothic aspect, but that as well almost just gave me the creeps. I felt it was definitely more along the lines of paranormal as opposed to “gothic”.
The end was interesting, and got slightly better after the huge expanse of the middle, but I still wasn’t quite satisfied with it. It felt like it ended too abruptly, after this huge story, it didn’t feel it could just end the way it did.
The characters were all really lovely. Jane was a great character, but she did have her weaknesses and despite being so book smart and street smart, she has no boy smarts. She has a perfectly great guy rooting for her, and instead she goes for the other and it’s totally abusive. I loved Mary Violet, Hattie and the other girls – they had such charm and I would just love to have friends like them. Mary Violet was just too funny; she was always up to some shenanigans. I loved Jack from the first page he walked onto the page. He was adorable, charming, and just so obviously healthy and good for Jane.
I absolutely love Dark Companion‘s cover – I think it’s gorgeous and I love that it ties into the book. Basically, Dark Companion was a really interesting book, but it wasn’t necessarily the best book for me. I would be interested from seeing more from Marta Acosta in the future though.