From Goodreads: When foster teen Jane Williams is invited to attend elite Birch Grove Academy for Girls and escape her violent urban neighborhood, she thinks the offer is too good to be true. She’s even offered her own living quarters, the groundskeeper’s cottage in the center of the birch grove.
Something’s not quite right about the school — or is it Jane? She thinks she sees things in the birch grove at night. She’s also beginning to suspect that the elegant headmistress and her sons are hiding secrets. Lucky is the gorgeous, golden son who is especially attentive to Jane, and Jack is the sardonic puzzling brother.
The school with its talented teachers and bright students is a dream for a science and math geek like Jane. She also loves her new friends, including hilarious poetry-spouting rich girl, Mary Violet. But the longer Jane stays at Birch Grove, the more questions she has about the disappearance of another scholarship girl and a missing faculty member.
Jane discovers one secret about Birch Grove, which only leads to more mysteries. What is she willing to sacrifice in order to stay at this school…and be bound to Birch Grove forever?
This review is really hard to write as this book is not your typical YA novel. The synopsis alone is very intriguing, but the story is anything but what you expect. I was floored by it, and I really enjoyed it, up until a point. Then everything became a little weird…
And this is why the review is so hard to write. I can’t give anything away, so I can’t really tell you why it got weird. So let’s talk characterization instead. I really, really liked Mary Violet and Jack. They are phenomenal side characters and they kept me smiling throughout the novel. Mary, with her amusing comments and all around good nature, and Jack with his witty remarks and teasing persona, are easily likable characters. However, Lucky is a despicable character, and I really hate him. In my opinion, he has no redeeming qualities and he ruined the novel for me a bit. His personality is atrocious, and the things he does (the things I can’t say because it would give away the story) made me ill as I read. Likewise, Jane seems like a very smart young woman; she is especially street smart, but when it comes to boys, she loses her head and makes extremely poor choices. So, as the book developed, I found myself liking her less and less, and by the end, I really didn’t have any respect for either her or Lucky, though Jane does redeem herself just a tad in the end.
I think Acosta is a great writer, but this story is a little too weird/creepy/awkward for me. I really did like the premise, and I promise, this isn’t like anything you’ve ever read before, but it just isn’t my cup of tea. Two stars.
Tor Teen has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read a copy of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release on July 3, 2012.