Good Reads #6 – Illuminate

Title: Illuminate

Author: Aimee Agresti

ISBN:  9780547626147

I’ve totally been bitten by the YA bug. No doubt about it. I’ve been kind of a snob about it in the past, but as I’ve started exposing myself to it I’ve found there can be a lot to like. I’ve also found that there is some real crap in there too, just like any other genre, and that one must tread lightly when browsing the shelves (in the case, at the library).

Where as there are books that are guilty-pleasure kind of bad, like the Selection (The Bachelor, in novel form with an added backdrop of a dystopian future) there are books that are also just plain bad. Case and point. The set up of the novel is as follows:

Haven Terra gets selected for an internship she never recalls signing up for that the school district apparently just decided to set up. Said internship involves leaving school for a full semester and moving away from home to live 24/7 in a hotel and work “at all hours.” WHAT KIND OF SCHOOL DISTRICT GIVES THE GREEN LIGHT TO THIS KIND OF SHIT. Oh. Wait. The benefactor behind the internship is the creme de la creme of society and can do no wrong, so of course they’ll go along with it. And the notion that someone as powerful and important as her would really want a 16 year old girl to do her bidding. Right.

So anyway. She goes and starts working at this hotel and one of her first missives is to take photographs of “The Outfit” the amazingly beautiful but cold as ice cadre of hotel workers who won’t give our protagonist the time of day. She is commended for her photographs, as even though she had little skills in photography there is something eye-catching about them. Zipping ahead, we have an opening and the next day the pictures (which had been hung in the gallery) had all been taken down because of “vandalism.” If I told you that they had been reading “The Picture of Dorian Gray” in English before she got word of this internship, I bet you can guess what happened to said pictures, right?
We eventually learn that she is an angel and a “soul illuminator” whose pictures reveal a person’s soul and that if you destroy the picture you destroy the person. You shouldn’t be surprised that her own picture eventually starts having her develop a halo as that of her bosses gets more malformed and hideous.

Throughout this the second in command, Lucian (fallen angel guys, get it?) has been trying to seduce her, begging her to “sell [him her] soul,” while guided by a mysterious book Haven watches new recruits being inducted into The Outfit (i.e. selling their soul), overhears meetings between Aurelia, Lucien and The Prince (three guesses as to who that is and first two don’t count) and they have to find a way to save their classmates at Prom because the Outfit is planning on using said Prom to garner new recruits. Oh. And I forgot to mention her friend Dante (who struggles in his battle to fight off the influence of the Outfit) and the use of mind control toxins and…yeah.

I think it’s pretty obvious why I’m trashing this book. It was an easy read and on some levels it was a fun read, but fun in a “I can’t believe I’m actually reading this” kind of way. The only reason it doesn’t get an all out F is because quite frankly it is way better written than the likes of anything SMeyer or EL James could ever hope to put out.

This is supposedly the first in a series. I can only ask: why?!

Don’t spend money on this book. Teens that are the target audience of this book deserve good books and this simply isn’t one of them.

Verdict: Don’t Bother

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