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.
Good always conquers evil. Aimee Agresti’s debut teen novel, Illuminate, highlights this message loud and clear. Sectioned into a three part story, readers can feel the pacing and urgency increasing with each turn in the novel.
Haven Terra’s transformation from quiet wallflower to emerging angel-in-training is truly astounding. Thrust into a coveted internship at Chicago’s up and coming Lexington Hotel, Haven and her companions, Lance and Dante, find perfection in members of the Outfit and their leader, Aurelia Brown. While impressing Aurelia and her second in command, Lucian, Haven finally feels like she’s found a place she belongs. Haven’s settles in only to discover how much is not as it seems at Lexington Hotel. With only a mysterious journal to guide her and build confidence in herself and her emerging powers, Haven must learn to navigate shark infested waters to save her soul and the souls of her classmates.
The Lexington Hotel is built on the history of Al Capone. Behind the façade of glamour and perfect living Agresti manages to infuse these snippets of history. It seems as though the hotel’s connection to that section of history fascinates our budding heroine and opens her eyes to all that surrounds her. Haven learns to believe in herself, to be comfortable in the skin she’s in, and take what life gives her in stride. Her secret training prepares her well for the fight for her life and she gains so much more than what she is promised by the Outfit.
Illuminate sheds light on Haven’s future, but leaves many unanswered questions in its shadow. The following Gilded Wings novel is sure to put forth new challenges to Haven and her loyal comrades. With an ending as sweet as Illuminate’s the second installment promises more romance and adventure.