Dark Companion Marta Acosta Book Review

Marta Acosta’s young adult debut Dark Companion certainly has an interesting concept for the plot to be built around.  Jane Williams, a foster kid living in the ghetto of Helmsdale, is offered the chance of a lifetime – a full ride scholarship and living allowance at the Birch Grove school, a posh private academy for girls. She even gets her own private cottage. Yet, something sinister is going on behind the scenes. Unfortunately, Dark Companion does not live up to the promise of it’s awesome premise.

Dark Companion Marta Acosta Book Cover

Dark Companion

The atmosphere and setting within Dark Companion is very well done. Marta Acosta provides the reader with a strong sense of place with her descriptions of foggy Birch Grove. Yet, there is a lingering sense of something evil beneath the surface which is infused in the writing.

Yet, while Dark Companion excels in atmosphere, it fails in dialogue. Conversations between characters feel stilted and do not read at all like real people. When Jane is talking with her friends Mary Violet and Constance, it sounds so formal and not how teenagers talk. When Jack Radcliffe hits on her, he continually refers to her as halfling or pixie or with another synonym for fairy which gets kind of grating.

As for romance, there is a slight love triangle between Jane and the two Radcliffe boys, who are the sons of the headmistress of Birch Grove. Jane is convinced she is in love with Lucian ‘Lucky’. Yet he is very disinterested and his only redeeming quality is his golden boy looks. Then there is Jack who always seems to be at the right place at the right time and is full of pet names for Jane.

What could have been an excellent YA Gothic read was stunted by meandering descriptions of clothing, constant similes describing eye colors and unfortunate dialogue.  If you read purely for atmosphere and can look past the faults listed, why not check out Dark Companion by Marta Acosta. Alas, it was not the book for me.

Disclosure: Received for review via Amazon Vine.

Other reviews of Dark Companion by Marta Acosta:

The Lost Entwife – “a mix between a paranormal gothic and a boarding school novel

All Things Urban Fantasy – “an intricate book that mixes a variety of tones and plot lines

Bibliophilic Monologues – “ a very readable book

The Book Cellar – “some aspects I quite liked, while others I was left sitting, pondering over what had just happened

About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. ewww to the clothing descriptions. That’s one of the things that stopped me from reading the rest of the blue blood books. It was so annoying

    Sorry this book didn’t work for you. bummer 🙁 I actually hadn’t even heard of this one until now.

  2. Um, I want my own private cottage. Wonder how much that would cost at a private school? Maybe the dialogue felt stilted because the book should have been set in a different time period? *shrugs* I haven’t read it so I’m just guessing. Hope your next read is captivating!

  3. It’s always too bad when an awesome premise is a disappointing read. Thanx for then review! 😉

  4. Too bad the rest of the book didn’t live up to the set up and the ambiance of the book! It did sound very promising!

  5. Dark Companion was not for me either. I actually quit a bit after the middle. Just could not handle any more of Jane. She went from semi-interesting to full blown annoying in less than a page. Glad to see I was not the only one disappointed.

Leave a Comment


CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: