By Aimee Agresti
Harcourt, $17.99, 514 pages
This is the first book in a new series featuring Haven Terra, a quiet, intellectual high school girl. Haven’s world is completely changed when she is awarded a much-coveted internship at a posh hotel with its glimmering staff of employees called the Outfit. Under owner Aurelia Brown’s watchful eye, the Outfit bring Haven into the mix as her world is shaken to its core. It doesn’t take long for Haven to fall for the dashing Lucian. At the same time, Haven obtains a mysterious book that sends her puzzling messages that seem to be trying to tell her something. As Haven follows the words of the book, she discovers that there is a lot more to Aurelia and the Outfit than she originally thought. As Haven discovers their plan that involves hurting her classmates, she knows that she must find a way to stop Aurelia from succeeding.
There are a lot of elements that make Illuminate a very beautiful book, including the cover art and the use of description throughout the book. However, for a book over 500 pages long, it does not move as quickly as one may like. A lot of time is spent on over-detailing areas that are not exactly pertinent to the story, and there is incongruity regarding the slow passage of time initially that zooms to a flying finish at the end. These aspects make the book a bit jarring to read and slow to get in to. Once you are in, the plot is something you have to work hard to hold on to, or else it melts away into a series of arbitrary events.
Reviewed by Rachel J. Richards