What I'm Reading: Get Even by Gretchen McNeil

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Illuminate by Aimee Agresti

Doesn't that cover look beautiful? Aimee Agresti's Illuminate got me through the painful waiting for The Hunger Games midnight premier movie to start, and I'm ready to throw some love on this book!
Here's the summary from Goodreads: 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?

So if the cover wasn't enough for you, how about that summary?

What I Liked: 1) The Lexington Hotel. I'd stay there in an instant. The details that Miz Agresti has put into her descriptions make the place come alive in all of it's luxurious glory. A majority of the story happens within the walls of this fancy-pants hotel, and this setting is wrought with it's own secrets and mysteries. I was so pulled into the story that I could have been in the plush lobby myself. 2) Plot. This was one of the most unique stories I've ever read. Every twist and turn brought something new into play that kept me engaged and interested from the very first page. I loved the Faustian slant, and I wasn't expecting it. I know the summary says "soul-buying" but whatever I was expecting, the book blew those expectations out of the water. There are many levels to the story that I really appreciated. 3) Names. Aimee definitely has a flair for naming her characters! The names are unique without being unpronounceable! And they all fit the characters of the personalities very well! I'm always curious when it comes to how authors name characters, and I wonder if these are the names she started with when she was writing, or if there was a process to get to these oh-so-prefect names. 4) Dante. The best friend. I wish I could explain him better than I pictured him dramatic kind of like Kurt Hummel (from Glee!). Seriously. Maybe more artsy. But definitely dramatic like Kurt. He was the quintessential gay best friend. 5) Lance. Oh, Sir Lancelot...how sweet are you? Lance made me think of those characters in movies who appear at first to be quiet and kind of nerdy, but then they whip off their glasses (and maybe their shirt!?) and are totally ripped and hot? Yeah, that's how I saw Lance. Lance was different than Dante in that he was...harder to get to know. With Dante, everything was right there out in the open. Lance was quieter, and you have to dig deeper to learn more about him. I loved the depth of all of these characters, and how they had lives and personalities that drew you to them like they were friends. 6) The mystery. The mystery is really what drives the plot of Illuminate. And Miz Agresti gives us little snippets as we go along. But just when you get the answer to one of your many questions, two more pop up! 7) The comedy! There are some really funny parts of the story, particularly in some of the dialogue. It's nice that when you get really deep into a mystery, there is some humor to lighten it up!

What I Didn't Like: I have thought and thought about this, trying to figure out if there was anything about this book that I didn't like. But I couldn't come up with anything. Everything about Illuminate just clicked for me!

 Overall thoughts: Illuminate is an intriguing book with a setting shrouded in mystery and characters that jump off the page. From the luxurious public areas of the Lexington Hotel to the dank and mysterious underground, readers who love getting wrapped up in a great story will love to join Dante, Lance and Haven as they unravel the paradox of The Outfit! Make sure to add Illuminate to your TBR lists!

My rating: 5 shots
This was read as a part of my Debut Author Challenge 2012!

Cheers and Happy Reading!


  1. It is a lovely cover. Glad to hear the inside is good too! I love it when a book "clicks" with me. I just posted my review of Grave Mercy -- and that one did it for me. So satisfying....

    Great thoughts!

  2. I have this in my "read soon" pile and I can't wait!

  3. I won a copy of this and I am looking forward to reading it. It sounds fantastic!! Fab review!


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