Dark Companion by Marta Acosta is one of those books that I desperately wanted to love. It had the twisting plot and well-rounded characters that I crave so much in young adult literature. However, this novel fell short for me. While the plot was captivating enough, I found myself wanting more mystery and less explanation by the end of the novel.
The story follows an emancipated minor named Jane Williams. Jane is from the wrong side of town, growing up in foster homes and poverty. When a fellow foster child dies, Jane wakes up and realizes she needs to try harder to make it in this life. So, she gets her act together, and the result is a full scholarship to an all-girls school, including room and board.
Jane does like the school at first. She’s a little intimated by the wealth and stature of the other students, but is determined to do well. When she meets the headmistress’ sons, she is then confronted with beauty, longing and trust issues all wrapped up in a dark secret that the academy is trying to keep quiet.
What I didn’t like about Dark Companion was how long it took for anything significant to happen. I was about a third of the way through the novel, and the big secret was still just a bunch of confusion. Once the main plot twist was revealed, the novel failed to keep my interest, meaning, the secret wasn’t enough for me. I wanted more mystery and suspense.
The ending of the novel, while bringing everything together, was also a little over the top. After the last confrontation, the author failed to wrap up the story in a concise manner, leaving the reader bored and waiting for the novel to end. I also think that Acosta took things a little too far with the final confrontation, adding another layer to the story that had not been explained and never got the page-time it deserved.
All-in-all I would say that Dark Companion was a good story. I liked the different characters and knowledge that the author gathered for her story. However, I didn’t think the build up was worth the wait. I think that Dark Companion could have been better suited as a series, giving Acosta more time to explore her different plot twists.
Sarah Emily Lelonek has a BA in English Literature from Kent State University. She is planning on attending Graduate School for English Rhetoric and Composition. She enjoys traveling and gaming while on breaks from working on her novel.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Tor Teen. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.