Monday, November 12, 2012

Illuminate book review

Author (Last name first):  Agresti, Aimee
Title of the Book:  Illuminate (A Gilded Wings Novel: Book One)
Publisher:     Houghton Mifflin Harcourt          Date of Publication:         2012
ISBN#         978-0-547-62614-7
Price:  $17.99        Grade Level: J/S     Number of Pages: 511
VOYA Rating: 4Q 4P

Highly Recommended  

Haven Terra is a nerdy, hard working, down to earth high school girl.  One day she is called down to the principal’s office and told she was picked for a very prestigious internship.  Her best friend, Dante, and another acquaintance, Lance, are also chosen from her school. The three of them are very surprised, but they are excited and can’t wait for their adventure to start.  They get to stay in Chicago’s newly remodeled Lexington, where everyone wants to be and be seen.  Unfortunately, as soon as they arrive, Haven notices that members of “The Outfit” act really weird.  Aurelia and Lucian are in charge of the hotel, and they give off a sinister vibe.  As the story unfolds, Haven begins to piece things together and realizes that there is evil at work in the hotel.  Haven and Lance are working together to save themselves and their classmates.  A romance is blossoming and most of the story is wrapped up at the end, but there is a lead in to the second book.

Overall, I enjoyed this book.  It was a little daunting at first because it is over 500 pages!  But it read pretty quickly and it was hard to put down once all the action started.  I like that there was a little bit of Chicago/Al Capone history woven into the story.  It had a paranormal twist with the Haven, Lance and Dante being angels.  The Prince made an appearance as the owner of the hotel – he was Satan.  Aurelia and Lucian were fallen angels that were now acting as agents for Satan and could not undo the evil they had done.  They were out to collect souls and were recruiting other soul collectors.

The setting was glamorous.  The beautiful people were wearing nice clothes, hanging out at the hottest nightclub, The Vault, inside the Lexington.  The food was amazing.  The history of the building was that it had been part of the smuggling operation during Prohibition, so it had underground tunnels and trap doors.  Haven was getting secret messages telling her what to do, so she stayed at the hotel because she believed she had a larger purpose in being there.  I think this book would appeal to high school girls and I will definitely add it to the school library collection.  I’m not sure that I see any Common Core connections besides just reading for fun.  It could be used as a book club book.  There was no objectionable content and it would be appropriate for grades 9-12.  The cover art is very attractive and I think students will pick this book up.

The official book trailer:

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