Illuminate by Aimee Agresti(2 out of 5)
The only reason this isn’t a 1 star review is because I like the lead characters- the three teens are greatly written and highly sympathetic. That’s the best this one has going for it.
I won this teen novel back in August. I hadn’t gotten around to it, but while trying to clean out the morass of literature lying in wait in my room(no joking), I spotted it and thought- why not? The word WHY is now more accurate.
Haven is a teen outcast living with her adopted mom in Chicago when she’s picked for a prestigious “internship” with the legendary and now-set-to-reopen Lexington Hotel, along with her friends Dante and Lance. Haven is assigned to the high-fashion and cooly accessible Aurelia, who manages the hotel, the staff, and the shady group of men in suits called “The Outfit'(yes, like “The Outfit” of Al Capone fame. Al Capone gets quite a bit of mention in this book, as the hotel is restored to what it was during the time of Capone’s infamy in Chicago). Lance and Dante are assigned to Etan, the chef of the hotel and Lucian, the mysterious, darkly cool “Edward Cullen-type” of the piece(except this guy has a brain and no glitter fangs.). Mysterious things begin to happen, including Haven’s forbidden attraction to Lucian, who is “with” Aurelia. Haven finds a mysterious journal in her room, in which writing appears of its own volition- and instructions on what to do and when. It also alerts her that a necklace that her mom Joan gave her apparently is going to launch her into another world… or is she a dove? There’s many a mention of wings(in fact the subtitle is gilded wings). Is Haven some sort of apocalypse angel? Is she going to “earn” her gilded wings? Are her and her friends in danger? What’s this hotel really a front for? All sorts of questions. Really, the answers- by the time you get them- take so damn long to get to, you’re bored. I picked up and set this book down about 10 times last night, but finally plowed through, just because I cannot NOT finish a book.
This book- I really enjoyed the three teens. I thought they were realistically written, from the crushes to the first hangovers, etc. That’s seriously about it. The book went on too damn long. It took so long to get through this book, or at that point to still give two shits about it, for me to gleen any sort of enjoyment from it. And it’s a series?? Oh my god. It’s a 511 page book that seriously could have kicked more ass had it been only- say- 300 pages. There’s about 200 pages of inanely slow plot development and extraneous wordiness. The end, well, let’s just say it doesn’t justify the 211 pages between. You hope that Haven and the boys escape- from not only the bad souls, but the long, long,long, long winding literary road.