Published by Tom Doherty Associates on July 3rd 2012
Orphaned at the age of six, Jane Williams has grown up in a series of foster homes, learning to survive in the shadows of life. Through hard work and determination, she manages to win a scholarship to the exclusive Birch Grove Academy. There, for the first time, Jane finds herself accepted by a group of friends. She even starts tutoring the headmistress’s gorgeous son, Lucien. Things seem too good to be true. They are.
The more she learns about Birch Grove’s recent past, the more Jane comes to suspect that there is something sinister going on. Why did the wife of a popular teacher kill herself? What happened to the former scholarship student, whose place Jane took? Why does Lucien’s brother, Jack, seem to dislike her so much?
As Jane begins to piece together the answers to the puzzle, she must find out why she was brought to Birch Grove—and what she would risk to stay there….
Sometimes when I am on the fence about reading a book, it helps me to check out reviews. I usually I stay away from doing this because I like the surprise element for my reads. But for some reason, I could not get a solid read for Dark Companion. Based on the few reviews I glanced over, it seemed like I was not the only one having some hesitance. Dark Companion seemed like it was going to be one of those love it or leave it type reads.
Dark Companion, for me, was divided into two parts. Before the reveal and after.
Before the reveal… Dark Companion had a lot going for it. Jane, our main character, was practical but interesting. Her new friends complemented her wonderfully and made the book come alive. The boys and the suspense around the school added an interesting element. So, I was feeling pretty good about Dark Companion. Sure, it was a little slow. But the humor interwoven made it bearable.
After the reveal… my palm hit my forehead quite a few times. The frustration had nothing to do with the reveal itself. But rather, Jane's reactions. Jane in the matter of a few sentences throws everything that she has preached about for chapter upon chapter out the window. Her street smarts, her practicality, everything. Turning her, in the matter of a few paragraphs, from a character worth knowing into a character that seemingly comes out of nowhere and, stereotypically, may be to stupid to live. Does she redeem herself? Honestly, I do not know. Very soon after this sudden character change emerges, I, after some thought, decided that I could not continue with Dark Companion.
I wish I could say otherwise, but Dark Companion was a DNF for me. I loved the secondary characters and the paranormal premise. But Jane and Lucky ruined it for me. Well, Jane more than Lucky. (But that is a whole different conversation, meant for another day.) Dark Companion with a few tweaks may have been a finishable read, but as it stands, was not the book for me.