cover image Illuminate


Aimee Agresti. Harcourt, $17.99 (528p) ISBN 978-0-547-62614-7

Agresti’s debut novel (first in a projected trilogy) is a tense tale of angels, devils, and the cult of celebrity that is let down somewhat by an unrealistic setup, paranormal elements aside. Nerdy Haven Terra is suffering through her junior year of high school when she and two other high-achieving students are picked for a prestigious internship, living and working at a newly reopened luxury hotel in Chicago. The teens are repeatedly told that this is their chance to make connections with the rich and powerful, but Haven suspects the staff is hiding something sinister, a theory confirmed by a magical book that warns her of danger and tells her that she’s in training for a greater purpose. When Haven figures out she and her friends are being groomed in a plot to collect souls, the race is on to save all three of them. The internship premise is pure wish fulfillment, and some characters, such as Haven’s gay best friend Dante, are painted very broadly. Still, Agresti’s story accelerates to an exciting climax, and the blossoming romance is sweet and satisfying. Ages 12–up. Agent: Stéphanie Abou, Foundry Literary + Media. (Mar.)