This is one of those covers that dares you to not like this book, it’s too bad the cover didn’t scare me into liking this book.
Okay, so a month or so ago I went to the book store during Spring Break to pick up some books for Trend Spotlights and Illuminate was one of them. You might be wondering if this is an angel book, why am I not featuring it in the trend spotlight section then? Well, I never finished it and I’m about to tell you why.
General Summary: Haven is so special that she and two of her classmates get chosen for this new state program which places high school prodigies these ultra cool internships. Haven and her friends of course are all going to be working at the same place ( a swanky newly renovated hotel that Al Capone used to call home). Naturally, there are secrets that make this dream job just a little too much like the Devil Wears Prada with more of the devil and less of the cool clothes.
Review: When I first started reading this one I thought I was going to love it. It was about teens getting to live in a luxury hotel all alone, how cool is that? And okay, it’s sort of been done before with Eloise at the Plaza, but there was utmost promise of paranormal intrigue at the hotel. And I could only assuming kissing too. Oh, and there was history connected to the Lexington too–all that Al Capone stuff. So the book had to be great, right? Uh, no.
Three hundred pages in and I gave up because nothing had happened. And I couldn’t engage with most of the chracters. Sure, Haven was nice. But I didn’t know anything about her other than she was nice, was an abandoned amnesic when she was a little girl, and she didn’t learn from Ginny Weasley’s mistake from Harry Potter (i.e. don’t respond to talking books). The other characters aren’t that much better. There’s Lance who’s the nice guy who’s often ignored by Haven for Lucien the mysterious and older hotel assistant manager (we all know where this is going). Not to mention Dante the stereotypical gay best friend. And then there’s Aurelia. Aurelia is probably the only other thing besides the rich history that Agresti used that makes this novel shine. The character is so deliciously mysterious and potentially evil that she had me turning the pages. Long after I should’ve given up on this book.
Best Feature: 1920’s Chicago: The book keeps referencing 1920’s Chicago. And I have to say learning all these little historical tidbits were pretty cool I also liked how the history connected to the overall story. I think if the pacing could’ve been fixed I could’ve really enjoyed this book. But we won’t ever know…
Worst Feature: Pacing: I really tried to give this book a chance, but after three hundred pages I still couldn’t get into the book. I still had only a sliver of an idea what was going on. And nothing truly exciting had happened to me. So I got bored and I read some other books and then I picked the book up again and after seventy or so pages I still couldn’t get interested in it because things moved so slow and I just gave up.
Appropriateness: The language is pretty clean in this book. There was some mention of underage drinking and the main character dates an older character. If you could call it dating. But that’s about it. At least from what I read.
Blockbuster Worthy: Um, maybe if the pacing was improved. As I said couldn’t finish it because things were just moving at a snail’s pace. The story seemed exciting enough, but I was never really hooked into it.
Haven: Selena Gomez: For some reason I can picture her playing Haven. Maybe it’s because of the wholesome image she tries to portray to the media.
Lance: Lance is described as being the Clark Kent-you know geeky, but secretly gorgeous. I guess if I was typecasting I could cast Tom Welling in the role. After all, he played Clark for how many years….but I’m not. No, he’s too old. And besides, I picture Lance looking more like Ken Baumann (a.k.a. Annoying Ben from Secret Life).
Aurelia: Aurelia is described as being ridiculously young in the book. I don’t buy it. I imagined her looking a little older and sort of like Kelly Sullivan.
Lucien: Matt Bomer. Okay, I’m aging up the role again. But if there’s someone who can play a charming but secretly dark assistant hotel manager it’s Matt.
Overall Rating: Four out of ten wings. It might’ve been higher if I could’ve actually finished it, but besides it’s ridiculously slow pacing I didn’t. Sad thing is, I actually enjoyed parts of this book.