Goodreads Summary: "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."
Illuminate by Aimee Agresti was not at all what I was expecting; the story that it told was not the one that I felt I had gleaned from its summary when I first put it up on my Wishing on Wednesday post so long ago.
I loved the historical aspect of it. Who isn't fascinated by the roaring twenties? By mobsters? And Al Capone most of all. I loved how the hotel played off of that, how there was so much history there. The whole hotel was built up off of that one historical figure with so many little tidbits hidden away in its depths. Random trivia almost. I loved reading these sections, I loved getting bits of truth weaved throughout the fiction; personally I think its those truths that really help build a story.
Haven was my kind of girl. Devoted good girl without especially having tried to be, its not that you want to be a saint so much as you don't find the other options appealing so you gain that reputation. Grades, school in general, the choices that you make, they are all based on that big "future" ahead of you. I felt, feel the same way. I could relate to Haven. I was that shy outcast determined to someday take the world by storm, to make myself known. I loved watching her character grow throughout the chapters, seeing her take those baby steps to come out of her shell. It was a great transformation and very well written. Believable.
And then there were those boys. I think Dante was my overall favorite just for sure epic-ness and the fact that I want to get my hands on some of those tasty desserts he made in the novel. "Clark Kent" wasn't too bad either. And don't even get me started on Lucian. Intrigued? I recommend you go give this one a try and find out for yourself.
At times this novel fell a little on the flat-side for me, I felt that it moseyed along in sections it should have raced through or gave too much description for something my own imagination wanted to take control over. But overall I was really impressed by all of the twists and turns that this novel had in its plot. Of course there were a few things that were predictable but after reading the novel as a whole you have to almost wonder if they were put there on purpose, if you were supposed to figure out these "obvious" things so that things could sneak around in the background without you being the wiser. Sneaky, very sneaky. I loved it!