The Sweetest Dark by Shana Abe
The Skinny: Lora gets the opportunity to do something many in her situation never get to – attend a prestigious school for girls, the scholarship student of a Duke who “owns” the school. After her troubling past in the orphanage, Lora embraces the opportunity, despite the snide and cruel girls who attend the school. It doesn’t help that Lora is… different. For some reason she can hear things, music that doesn’t exist. The answers lie with two boys – Jesse, the school’s groundskeeper, and Armand, the arrogant son of the duke. With their help Lora must understand who she is and what she must become.
BFF?: I’m gonna just say it: I didn’t like Lora. Was she well written? For the most part, very much so. Was her voice authentic and lovely and all those good things? Yes. I felt for her, I triumphed with her, I even cheered for her at some points. But truthfully… she was kind of… well… a bitch. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes the people she was rude to totally deserved it, but sometimes just said snide comments without any pushing. No wonder no one likes you. You’re mean to them!
Readability: This book was absolutely beautiful to read. BE-U-TI-FULLLL. The imagery, the lush poetic writing, the way words flowed into the other… I haven’t read anything like this in a long long while.
Crush Level: 5 & 2
Let’s start with Jesse. Everyone thinks he’s mute because he doesn’t talk. But actually, he just talks to Lora. Which is kinda sweet, because she’s really all he cares about. In fact, I kind of loved him. Like a lot. Why the low crush level though? He just didn’t do it for me. Yes, there were some scenes that were pretty swoony, and they mainly involved him, but I dunno… just not for me.
Then there’s Armand. First, his name. I don’t like it. It even sounds pompous. Secondly, OMG he is the most pompous pig out there. Sure, there are redeeming moments when he’s not too bad, but for the most part yuck. He’s mean to Lora, he’s condescending, and he’s broody. And not in a good way.
Commencement Speech: I hadn’t heard a lot about The Sweetest Dark before I read it. I’d read a few reviews, some negative, some positive. I wasn’t sure what I was getting into but thoroughly enjoyed it once I was there! There were a few surprises, a few twists and turns… nothing was obvious but nothing was jaw-droppingly OMG did that just happen? The one thing that I really loved was the writing. It blew me away with how beautiful it was. There was one part… I’m pretty sure it was just kissing… that made me feel like I needed a cold shower. Just from the writing! Phew! Overall… great book. I’m looking forward to where the next one takes me, especially considering the explosive ending!
Yearbook Quote: “What am I to make of you?” I muttered into it. “Are you DARK?” I will be delicious, was all the orange seemed to reply.” (yeah, my food says that to me too)
“Secrets could live here, tucked between tree trunks, hidden in the boughs, and no one would ever see. Secret things, secret hearts, could open up wings and thrive.”
Superlatives – Most likely to make you want to paint everything purple
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