Jul 19, 2012

{Review} of Dark Companion by Marta Acosta

Dark CompanionDark Companion by Marta Acosta
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

GENRE: YA Paranormal
THEME: Mystery/ Supernatural
RECEIVED: Received from Tor/Macmillan
AUTHORS BLOG: Marta Acosta's Site

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?

I really enjoy books that have that edge of gothic and dark mystery behind the plot. Dark Companion definitely held that key element that I enjoy so much, with its dark tone and a female lead that you hope gets a happy ending. Marta Acosta wrote a story that kept me hooked and intrigue with the mystery until the end.

Jane Williams has never had the life of a “normal” girl, being stuck in the foster care system and studied very hard to earn a way to freedom aka full ride scholarship. She grew up in a tough town and a neighborhood that many would want to stay away from, until she gets the chance to attend school at Birch Grove. A prestigious school with all the education she needs, except there is something off about Birch Grove and Jane seems to be stuck in the middle of a big secret.

First and foremost, I absolutely love the way Marta Acosta describes in detail the landscape and buildings that make Birch Grove Academy. I was immediately hooked to this story because I always wanted to go to this private school surrounded by the beauty of the woods and Acosta really creates a character out of the school itself.

Jane is an extremely dedicated and smart girl; she’s determined to make something of herself. I liked that she caught on to the mystery that was going on at her school and was almost like a female Sherlock Holmes that discovers a huge secret. I also enjoyed that she wasn’t just the main focus and the secondary characters such as her friend Mary Violet brought light to a dark themed storyline. I have to say Mary Violet was my favorite character by far, with her humorous attitude and love for literature.

Then there are the boys, Lucky and Jack who are the sons of the headmistress of Birch Grove. They are extremely different from each other, where Lucky is arrogant and possessive; Jack is funny and random making for an interesting pair of bothers. They also make Jane’s life a heck of a lot more difficult because she’s pulled into their lives, plus there’s some jealously in the midst. In the end my only issue was with Lucky, I really couldn’t stand the guy and even in the end just didn’t care for his character like I did Jack
Overall as the story unfolded I was a bit relieved it wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. It had an original take and also had a minor fantasy side story that I feel will be important in the next book. After seeing how others felt about this book it’s definitely a book for those who enjoy darker storylines and lots of mystery. The writing is wavering to more adult, as in some words I actually had to look up the meaning. I recommend that even if you don’t like darker novels that this one should be given a chance because it has a special something that I feel anyone would enjoy.

This is a young adult novel with minor adult moments in the romance area and a bit of blood. Fans of Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard and Dark Kiss by Michelle Rowen will love this gothic mystery novel by Marta Acosta.

View all my reviews


  1. A female Sherlock Holmes? I'm game! And I love the whole "Kid in foster care, striving to be better." because it seems like there arent' enough positive stories like this...

    Thanks for the great review :)

    -Jac @ For Love and Books

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. I have to be in the "right mood" for a dark story but when I am...they're the BEST! This sounds like a great read. Your review was a huge help. Thanks for posting it!!