By Aimee Agresti
Published by Harcourt
Published on March 6, 2012
Source: Around the World ARC Tours

 Summary taken 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?
     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.

This was an awesome book!  I originally picked this book up because of the beautiful cover.  I mean, come on, a girl in a pretty dress? Wings? Sparkles? Yes please!  I was worried about reading and reviewing this book- not knowing anything about it (I have been burned in the past). I had no reason to worry- this book exceeded all of my expectations and really was a delight to read.

The author's writing is really what took this book to such a high level for me.  The author has a way of describing details without making me feel like she is explaining everything or info dumping on me.  I loved all of the history that is in this book and all of the facts about Al Capone that are woven into the narrative- it was a fresh and bold take on a genre of YA that has been done many times before.  I loved the setting and the entire IDEA surrounding the plot.  

This is a massive book, clocking in at almost 550 pages.  This is not the average size for a YA book, and this book does take commitment- this is not a book that I read in one day (which is highly abnormal for me).  Usually, with a book this long, I make a comment about how the author could have lost a hundred (or two) pages to make the story better- in this instance, I can't.  The author did such a good job at telling her story- no cuts are needed.  Although this book is long- it held my interest and kept me wondering what would happen next.

I highly recommend this novel and can't wait to read more by this author!

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