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Dark Companion

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  3,919 ratings  ·  569 reviews
ORPHANED AT THE AGE OF SIX, Jane Williams has grown up in a series of foster homes, learning to survive in the shadows of life. Through hard work and determination, she manages to win a scholarship to the exclusive Birch Grove Academy. There, for the first time, Jane finds herself accepted by a group of friends. She even starts tutoring the headmistress's gorgeous son, Luc ...more
Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Published July 3rd 2012 by Tor/Macmillan
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Karen Barber It was originally put up on Scribed as this, but didn't get published. After some revision it was published as Dark Companion.

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Average rating 3.56  · 
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 ·  3,919 ratings  ·  569 reviews

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Oct 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, ebook
After being brought back to life from an accident that killed her, Jane is left with no memory of her childhood, and no parents. A foster child in a run-down town of Helmsdale, Jane can't refuse when a scholarship to an elite all-girl school is offered. She gets living expenses and her own place to live. It all seems so unreal, and it definitely feels… bizarre.

Dark Companion is different from anything I've ever read. It's a Gothic novel with a dark vibe, sweet romance, and original plot twists.
Initial Thoughts: There were parts of "Dark Companion" I liked enough to see where they went, but I don't think those parts outweighed the many times this book seemed to drop the ball and then some. I have a long review to write on this, so hopefully I can explain why this book didn't work for the kind of story it was going for. Gothic mysteries that tend to push the edge of things are fine, but I think for it to work, it has to have some measure of cohesion - there was very little holding this ...more
♥ Sandi ❣
3.75 stars
Thank you to Netgalley for furnishing this book for my review.

This is not a book that I would normally read, so I went out of my comfort zone reading this one. However it was very gentle on me, no where near as genre critical as it could have been.

Jane Williams has won a scholarship to an elite school, Birch Grove Academy. She believes it is her first big break in life, having grown up in foster care since losing her parents at age eight. She is even given her own cottage within the
Joy (joyous reads)
May 06, 2012 rated it did not like it
I'm sorry. I can no longer continue. I've never understood how anyone can say a character is TSTL. Well, now I know. This book is FUCKED UP. WRONG. The subject matter is totally inappropriate considering it's being marketed as a young adult novel. What the hell?

The first half was so good. The dialogues left me awe-struck because I've never, ever read any teenagers converse so eloquently but flippant enough that you can tell their age. They made the inconsequential conversations turn into moment
Kim Smiley
May 24, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
I just couldn't finish this book. It was so not interesting to me even though the plot sounded good. But 100+ pages in I just couldn't continue to read. This irritates me as 99.9% of the time I finish every book I start reading. But I just couldn't do it with this one.
Sep 06, 2011 added it
Note Dark Companion is *not* a paranormal romance novel. Marta Acosta calls it dark Gothic.

When the manuscript for Dark Companion first arrived in my hands, I admit that I was a little scared. It was daunting stack of 200+ pages that would later be printed, bound, and shipped off as a book. While 200 pages might not so scary on screen, when you have it your hands and feel its weight, you worry if you can ever finish it. So I set a goal for myself, a chapter per day while eating breakfast/lunch.
Emily S.
May 11, 2012 rated it it was ok
I'd say probably 1 1/2 stars. There were things I liked (Jack, MV), but far more that I didn't. It was well-written, but really just not for me. I may or may not do a full review on it. I don't know if I can adequately explain my feelings.

Full Review:
Here's one that drew me in with the very creepy cover (which, sadly, I will not be posting because I had an e-book copy of it instead of a hard copy that I could take a picture of) and the premise. I'm sad that it didn't live up to the expectations
An Electronic Advanced Reader Copy was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for review. Quotes have been pulled from an ARC and may be subject to change.

I’ve always loved books that are set in boarding school. The only reason why is because there are no restrictions from parents or guardians and it’s always entertaining to read how teens act when there are no adults around. But Jane is the exception. She’s an orphan and wants nothing more than to leave her foster family. Her goals and aspirat

Jane Williams has just been given a full scholarship to attend Birch Grove Academy, an elite girl's school where she will have a second chance at life, away from the violent city slums of Helmsdale where she's lived her entire life. Once Jane arrives at the school, she starts making friends and falling for a couple of the boys who live near the school-- both who happen to be the sons of the school's headmistress. However, Jane starts realizing that there is something strange about Birch Grove,
A intricate book that mixes a variety of tones and plot lines. The first half sucked me in,giving me confidence in Jane's steady and methodical nature,then making me worry that her past would blind her to joys and dangers right in front of her. The question set up is what view of the world is right,Jane's equations or her friends magic and poetry... and Marta Acosta's answer to that question is the most complicated thing of all.

I loved the first half of this book, Jane Williams was as captivati
Dec 16, 2011 rated it it was ok
Ugh! If youre gonna do a jane eyre-like story get. It. Right. Boo! Plenty of things to appreciate in this story. Full review to come.
Jun 18, 2012 rated it really liked it

Four Stars: A mysterious, dark, compelling read full of surprises.

Jane is leaving the squalid neighborhood known as Hellsdale.  She has spent the last few years living in Hell as she fights to survive the brutal streets, avoid prostitution, drugs, shootings and all the evils that plague those living in this run down neighborhood.  The death of her best friend spurred her to apply herself and earn her way out of the poverty.  Her studious habits and hard work have finally paid off.  Jane is the l
Do you remember old classics of Charles Dickens or Emily Bronte where a lonely orphan kid was sent to some boarding school where he or she went through endless sufferings and learned about cruel world? Well, Dark Companion might sound like similar, but let me tell you other than an orphan girl part and boarding school in remote town, how different the novel is. Of course the novel is inspired by old classics but it’s dark, gothic and haunting. And our heroine is not some scared little girl, she ...more
Sarah Mac
Ok. Um. Well now.

I liked the chapter epigraphs from classic gothic lit & poetry. But sadly, that's *all* I liked.

The characters were either cardboard or cliche or annoying (Jack was somewhat amusing on occasion, but otherwise...bleh). Jane herself was just...nope. What a drab, judgmental moo. And the plot -- boy howdy. This book has a serious identity crisis. Is it a modern gothic homage? Urban paranormal? Dark romance? Teenage soap? Dickens-style social commentary? It's just way too much to s
Aug 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Jane Williams is a foster child from the rough streets of Helmsdale (‘Hellsdale’). Jane could have sunk into drugged ether like her fellow foster-kids, or sold her body on the street corner like her friend Wilde. But thanks to her intelligent and dearly-departed reverend brother, Hosea, she managed to use her brain and get plucked out of ghetto-obscurity with a scholarship to the elite Birch Grove Academy for Girls.

Jane lives in a beautiful cottage on campus, surrounded by lovely birch trees tha
Kim (Sliced Open Reviews)
You may have noticed that I have not given DARK COMPANION a “rating” and I have done this for a number of reasons. I hope that by the end of this review you will come to understand why, as well as after you read DARK COMPANION you will have to let me know if you feel the same way…

I came across DARK COMPANION back in January of this year and yes, I did drool all over myself when I saw the cover. There is something so dark and beautiful about it I was like a two-year old with grabby hands until I
Jul 03, 2012 rated it did not like it
Sacre bleu! That's French for, "Holy crap, this book sucked balls."

I sincerely hope that whoever compared this book favorably to Jane Eyre lights his or herself on fire in shame. Yes, there were parallels, but even those were less parallels and more sledgehammer references(view spoiler)
Apr 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Dark Companion by Marta Acosta caught my attention on Tor’s website and I knew I had to review it. I am pleased to tell you that this creepy, dark and unique novel delivered. It has mystery, romance, interesting characters and a plot filled with twists.

It begins when we meet Jane Williams an emancipated minor who is leaving her foster home to attend an all girl’s school known as Birchwood Grove Academy for Girls. In an attempt to change her life, Jane has studied diligently and has received a fu
Sep 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Simply put, Dark Companion is an enchanting Gothic read, deliciously reminiscent of Jane Eyre.

There is this young orphan girl, who is given a magic ticket out of a hellhole she is living in to go to a posh privileged all-girl school. She is damaged, desperately in need of being loved and has a very cynical view of life.

It's marvellous to see Jane growing as a character throughout of the book. She meets someone who we, readers, think will be perfect for her, - Jack. Charming, kind, full of w
Sep 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
I got my copy of Dark Companion as a manuscript from Marta Acosta.

From the moment I started reading I was hooked. Dark Companion has a mixture of secrets, mysteries, friendships and romance and of course hot boys.

It tells the story of Jane, who survived an accident that killed her, but was brought back to life with no memories just a left over scar.
Jane is offered a scholarship to attend Birch Grove School, which she accepts to escape the hellhole she lives in. At Birch Grove, weird things are
Apr 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The Dark Companion cover is beautiful. It’s what first grabbed me. But after reading the first charter, I knew Dark Companion was going to be an awesome read. Let me start with the terrific characters—and there're plenty of them. My favorites are: Jane, who’s the main character and is as tough as they come, Jack, he's kind of the bad boy who's hilarious, Lucian (Lucky) who's Jack's jerk of a brother (I wanted to give him a piece of my mind) and then Mary Violet, she’s Jane's loads of fun new bes ...more
Jun 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition


Jane has been shuttled around from foster home to foster home after her parents' death and she doesn't remember all of the details but knows that there was violence involved where she was injured during a storm as well. At her last home, she is mentored by an older boy and follows his advice to always be polite and learn as much as possible in order to make a better life for herself. Her efforts pay off and she is offered a scholarship to Birch Grov
At the beginning of each chapter is a quote from some classical novel. I was very impressed by the wide variety of quotes and felt the author must be highly well read. As the book progressed, however, the quotes got less exciting and more similar, they lost their appeal.

The characters seem a bit unstable, especially Jane. If you are a huge Jane Eyre fan you might not be satisfied with this rendition. The story and characters have been put in a salad tosser and thoroughly displaced. Character lin
Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies
This book wants to be a Gothic vampire romance. It is not. It is dull, the main character is annoying, acts, and talks unlike any teenagers I know. Her newfound friends at the Academy are a stupid, brainless breed of teens, and the love interests had me yawning, so cut from an YA mold were they. I think I qualify for a masochistic personality disorder, because somehow I forced myself to finish the book.
Zemira (Kylo Ren fangirl) Warner
It looks like Jane's story is finally getting published. This is the same book as The Shadow Girl of Birch Grove. I've read it last year. ...more
Keren Hughes
Jan 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Taken from my original review:


Jane Williams is an orphan. She comes from Helmsdale, or as the residents call it Hellsdale. Her mother died when she was young, but Jane's got what's known as 'retro-grade amnesia' and that means she's lost access to events that have occurred. She can't remember her mother, her father, her life before a certain point (I won't tell you what causes her RA - that's not for me to tell you - so it may at this point, seem a little
Dark Faerie Tales
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: A dark and mysterious coming of age book with a twist of paranormal on top.

Opening Sentence: When I was six, I was entered into the foster care system because there was no one to care for me.

The Review:

I do not usually cover the reviews for the young adult books, even though I have done several in the past. Young adult novels tends to be a little predictable for me. For instance, I am never sending my kids away to an academy; they are always b
Jul 03, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012

This book. Well, let's see...


I was so all over the place while reading this book, making it hard to boil it down to neat, general observances. Let me quickly take you through the story, with some light spoilers.

Dark Companion tells the story of Jane Williams who survived a traumatic experience in her childhood, only to lose all those memories and then be placed into foster care. When we pick up her story, she's been offered a full scholarship to Birch Grove, a fancy fancy school for g
Madly Jane
When I finished this book, I kind of went into a literary shock. Why? Well, I looked at the reviews and comments and I just don’t understand, I will never understand, how a book as brilliant and beautiful as this one could be so misunderstood. In fact, it was a fluke that I bought it. It was recommended to me by a woman who thought I would love it and she was right. Oh, it’s so brilliant. So smart, So clever, So intelligent, so important for young girls. It’s the book for young girls to read. It ...more
Oct 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2012
Are you ready for a long, involved discussion? Because that’s what you’re going to get. I felt like this book had lots of layers to it. Some of them I quite liked and others, I didn’t quite care for all that much. First, I appreciated how subtly clever the author was with the epigraph. (An epigraph, in literature, is a quotation/poem/etc at the beginning of a chapter or a novel that does two things: one, sets the mood of the novel/chapter and two, contextualizes the work or induct its among the ...more
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Marta Acosta lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. She was a feral reader, roaming the stacks of the public library.

She received a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from Stanford University and has written for the San Francisco Chronicle, the Contra Costa Times, and Spaces Magazine.

Marta lives with her husband, spawn, and their crazy dogs. An avid gardener, she likes independent fil

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