cover image Dark Companion

Dark Companion

Marta Acosta. Tor Teen, $17.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-7653-2964-6

Jane Williams, an orphaned 16-year-old living in urban foster care, animates a conventional YA plot%E2%80%94the outsider with secrets who relocates and is forced to face painful truths about who she is. Boarding schools and touches of the paranormal are common to this genre, and Jane makes the giant leap from her group home to privileged boarder at the all-girls Birch Grove Academy. Buttressing adult author Acosta's (the Casa Dracula series) YA debut are nods to the gothic tradition and Jane Eyre parallels that she encourages through epigraphs, character names, and the events that unfold. Her well-drawn characters shine%E2%80%94Jane especially, whose very nongothic life on the street makes for a gritty opening and influences the whole. Jack Radcliffe (the mountain-biking incarnation of Mr. Rochester) and Jane's clearly delineated classmates are vivid actors in the drama as well. Their strengths are masked somewhat by all the genre %E2%80%A8apparatus around them, but even so, Acosta's story is an impressive contender in the crowded YA paranormal field. Ages 13%E2%80%93up. Agent: Alexandra Machinist, Janklow & Nesbit. (July)