Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Review: Illuminate by Aimee Agresti

Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Pages: 531
Received: Borrowed from friend

Release Date: March 6, 2012
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Goodreads Synopsis:

Haven Terra is a brainy, shy high school outcast. But everything begins to change when she turns sixteen. Along with her best friend Dante and their quiet and brilliant classmate Lance, she is awarded a prestigious internship in the big city— Chicago—and is sent to live and work at a swanky and stylish hotel under the watchful eyes of a group of gorgeous and shockingly young-looking strangers: powerful and alluring hotel owner Aurelia Brown; her second-in-command, the dashing Lucian Grove; and their stunning but aloof staff of glamazons called The Outfit.

As Haven begins falling for Lucian, she discovers that these beautiful people are not quite what they seem. With the help of a mysterious book, she uncovers a network of secret passageways from the hotel’s jazz-age past that leads her to the heart of the evil agenda of Aurelia and company: they’re in the business of buying souls. Will they succeed in wooing Haven to join them in their recruitment efforts, or will she be able to thwart this devilish set’s plans to take the souls of her classmates on prom night at the hotel?

Illuminate is an exciting saga of a teen’s first taste of independence, her experience in the lap of luxury, and her discovery she may possess strength greater than she ever knew.

My Review

I'm really starting to get into angel books lately, and I definitely enjoyed this one. I do admit that it was a bit long and slow going for awhile. It seemed that not a lot was really happening and Haven was just going through the motions of a job. This book was a little daunting for me at first, clocking in at over 500 pages for a YA book is kind of odd, but I'm glad I stuck with it.

I found in the beginning it was really hard to get through this book, but once I got into the story I couldn't put it down. The Outfit is the epitome of evil, but dressed gorgeously. I really wanted to find out what the whole plan for The Outfit was and why these three teenagers were chosen (when that secret comes out I was really surprised!)

I really enjoyed the characters, especially Haven, who is the quiet high school girl (I definitely relate to her there). She definitely grew into her strength throughout the book which was an interesting process. I am definitely interested to know more about the book that helps Haven through everything. I enjoyed how Haven had someone on her side, and someone guiding her through the motions of what to do.

I also really enjoyed the friendships between the characters, mainly Dante and Haven. I just found Dante was hilarious. He was a guy that was all about helping Haven look the part for her new job at this classy establishment, and he is always up for a good time (basically the complete opposite of Haven). It was fun to watch the friendship go through everything. And then also watching Haven spark a new friendship with Lance was so much fun, he was an adorable character and definitely my new book boyfriend!

The ending of this book was really interesting, a lot of things are tied up and it seems like it could be a standalone. Though there are still a few questions lingering, I can't wait to see what's next for Haven.

I have to admit I have never read The Picture of Dorian Gray but I have heard this book has a lot of elements from that book in it (so I will have to pick that book up now as well). I definitely want to read books that are similar to this one, it was really interesting and I am really glad to have picked it up. 


  1. I am SO Curious about this book ever since I heard the comparisons to Dorian Grey, because I would lov eto find out how this angel YA book connects to it! I think that would be fascinating :)

    I haven't read too many reviews on this one yet, but I loved the cover when I first saw it and I've been meaning to pick it up; so I'm glad I read yours, since the amount of pages kind of intimidated me too!

    Brenna from Esther's Ever After

  2. Ooooh! I loved the Picture of Dorian Grey! I didn't know this book included elements of it! That's so cool! Illuminate was my WOW pick a couple of weeks ago, so I'm really glad to hear you enjoyed it! I hate when books start off slow, especially when they are 500+ pages, but it sounds like this one was worth it in the end. Thanks for the great review :)

  3. I have been seeing this book on lot of wishlists lately but yours is the first review that I have read of it - and I am definitely interested. I was also a bit shocked to see the page count but it sounds like once the story gets going things really get going. It sounds like there are some really great developing relationsihps in this book and that is always something that helps me connect more to a novel. Awesome review, I'm excited to read it! :D

    Bonnie @

  4. I have to admit I liked the longer length of this book and the description of Haven's job. It was a nice change for the lack of detail I usually find in YA books.

    I'm totally with you on Dante though. He was such a fun character. Loved reading about him.

  5. I haven't read The Picture of Dorian Gray yet, either, but it's sitting on my shelf! Maybe I should read that one before getting to this one? Hmmm. And I had no idea that this book was so long! That's good to know. I'm still looking forward to it, though. And you have a new book boyfriend, too! ;) I'll definitely have to get to this one soon. Great review!



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