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Dark Companion by Marta Acosta

Dark Companion (edition 2012)

by Marta Acosta

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1953660,388 (3.38)None
Title:Dark Companion
Authors:Marta Acosta
Info:Tor Teen (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 368 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:boarding school, fantasy, fiction, foster care, mystery, orphans, paranormal, paranormal romance, romance, urban fantasy, young adult

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Dark Companion by Marta Acosta



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Simply put, Dark Companion is an enchanting Gothic read, deliciously reminiscent of Jane Eyre.

There is this young orphan girl, who is given a magic ticket out of a hellhole she is living in to go to a posh privileged all-girl school. She is damaged, desperately in need of being loved and has a very cynical view of life.

It's marvellous to see Jane growing as a character throughout of the book. She meets someone who we, readers, think will be perfect for her, - Jack. Charming, kind, full of wit and eccentricity, talented musician with a strong moral code of what's right or wrong...

...and instead she falls for a totally selfish, childish, needy jerk slash golden boy of Birch Grove - moody, mercurial, slightly cruel and weak Lucky. Why? Because he needs her, and poor unstable, angry, vulnerable Jane falls into a trap of every abusive relationship that ever happened. She equals selfish need to love.

Marta Acosta manages to show this sense of wrongness really well, and I was struggling through most of the plot with Jane's choices, but still I could understand why she was making them.


When at some point Jane runs away from the Academy, and we see the stark reality of the streets she comes back to, the similarities with Bronte's work ends, because Jane comes back on her own terms, and stronger for it. This is the breaking point of her change. Everything after that makes her see her situation as it is. She is being used and abused and it's up to her to make the right choices.

Secondary characters in Dark Companion are to die for. Mary Violet very much reminded me of Nancy, - another character from Marta's adult series.

Grandmere calls me Marie-Violette and she‘s always asking me about my beaux, which is French for sleazebags with trust funds.

She is full of spark and incredible wit, crazily funny and writes poems about everyone. Most of the girls in Birch Grove are fantastic characters, and the banter between them and Jane is fabulous to read.

Jack is an absolute cutester, and my heart was with him from the very beginning. The book itself is spooky and full of dark undertones reminiscent of Morganville Vampires and Incubus by Carol Goodman.

Also, Ian Ducharme makes a cameo appearance. SQUEEEEE! I love him. If you haven't read Marta's hilarious Casa Dracula series, you MUST. He is gorgeous, insightful charmer with a dangerous reputation of an executioner among the vampires, and his nickname is Dark Lord *snorts*

Overall, Dark Companion is a complex and beautiful read full of shades of gray and uneasy moral choices, charming and haunting. ( )
  kara-karina | Nov 20, 2015 |
I absolutely, positively could not get into this book. One hundred pages in and I am still hoping to identify with one character. Just one. Nope. Too many good books to read, not enough time to waste on a book I am not enjoying. ( )
  schatzi | Jun 20, 2015 |
Deciding whether or not to write a review for this one :)
  BookSpot | May 18, 2015 |
Jane Williams comes from the squalid city of Helmsdale, also knowns as Hellsdale. She has no memories of what happened to her before the age of 6, when she was put into foster care. After bouncing around from home to home, she landed in a group home finally gaining her freedom through a full scholarship to a prestigious school at the age of 16. Read the rest of the review on my blog "Should I read it or not?": http://shouldireaditornot.wordpress.com/2013/11/23/dark-companion-marta-acosta/ ( )
  ShouldIReadIt | Sep 26, 2014 |
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? ( )
  cay250 | Aug 22, 2014 |
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With love to Sam Gough, who is an exceptional girl
First words
Prologue: On the night that I die, a storm rages, and the thin glass of the cheap windows shudders as if beaten by fists, and the wind howls like someone calling come away, come away.
Chapter 1: When I was six, I was entered into the foster care system because there was no one to care for me.
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Dark Companion is the renamed and rewritten final published version of The Shadow Girl of Birch Grove.
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The Review

Along with only reading books about vampires LoveVampires has two other site rules. We don’t read e-books and we never read self published books. As site editor my reasons for these rules are sound. I dislike reading from the computer screen and having been a life-long bibliophile I’m somewhat attached to my paper books (no Amazon Kindle or Sony e-Reader for me!) Reading fiction from a computer screen usually makes me fidgety with the result that I find it impossible to connect with the story. The never reading self published books rule is more to save my sanity and preserve my love of reading – the majority of them are so awful that I’d rather not read – and I love reading!

However, a rule is proved by its exceptions and The Shadow Girl of Birch Grove is the exception that proves mine. Okay, so technically the book isn’t self published, Marta Acosta author of the bestselling Casa Dracula series has made the book available as a free PDF download for her readers but you know what I mean. It’s a mystery to me why this novel hasn’t been snapped up for publication. And I read this from the computer screen in a couple of sittings without my attention wandering. So it’s fair to say that this book is exceptional.

Written for the Young Adult market The Shadow Girl of Birch Grove is the story of orphan Jane, who finds that education and study are her ticket out of her inner-city group foster home to an elite academy but soon discovers that nothing is quite as perfect as it seems.

There are huge parallels between The Shadow Girl of Birch Grove and Charlotte Bronte’s classic novel Jane Eyre and this was part of the story’s attraction for me. (Jane Eyre was the first book that I stayed up all night reading when I was a teenager and it’s an understatement to say I loved that book.) For the first couple of chapters of the book Jane Williams and Jane Eyre tread the same path, just swapping out the cruelly cold Victorian school setting for an equally bleak modern day inner-city foster home.

Jane Williams, like Jane Eyre, is a plain and serious teenager. She channels her energy into bettering herself and escaping her upcoming through education, but (like Eyre) she isn’t without passion and feeling. Seizing her opportunity to become have a full scholarship at the Birch Grove Academy for Girls, Jane willing leaves everything and everyone she has ever known behind, setting out to Birch Grove as a sixteen year-old emancipated minor.

Upon Jane’s arrival at the Academy the plot of Jane Eyre and Shadow Girl split further apart, the story giving readers a modern day gothic treat with characters that are far easier to identify with than those in Charlotte Bronte’s classic novel. The fog shrouded Birch Grove setting is creepy and atmospheric, its whispering trees and hints of hidden dark secrets are guaranteed to keep readers quickly turning pages.

Fans of Acosta’s Casa Dracula books will recognise the signs that indicate vampires are present. New readers will just be left to worry about why so many people in this remote picture perfect town prefer their meat to be served extremely rare…

The Shadow Girl of Birch Grove lacks Casa Dracula’s trademark witty comedy but laugh-out-loud humour would detract from the sinister gothic feel of the story. Besides Jane Williams is already serious and sincere and an entirely different character to Casa Dracula’s Milagro De Los Santos who would like to be serious and sincere but frequently fails to be so due to her silly nature.

Shadow Girl is recommended reading for teen gothic/vampire fiction fans as well as for Jane Eyre fans of any age. Bloody brilliant!

The Shadow Girl of Birch Grove is available for free download at Scribd. The free download version has been removed from Scribd because Shadow Girl has now been sold for publication. Yay! Don’t forget to share this good news with your friends.
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Brought back to life and orphaned at the age of six, Jane Williams grows up in a series of foster homes and wins a scholarship to the exclusive Birch Grove Academy, where dark secrets abound.

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