Haven Terra is a brainy, shy high school outcast. But everything changes when she is awarded a prestigious internship at a posh Chicago hotel under the watchful eyes of a group of gorgeous strangers: the powerful and alluring hotel owner Aurelia Brown; her second-in-command, the dashing Lucian Grove; and their stunning but aloof staff of glamazons called The Outfit.
As Haven begins falling for Lucian, she discovers that these beautiful people are not quite what they seem. With the help of a mysterious book, she uncovers the evil agenda of Aurelia and company: they’re in the business of buying souls. Will they succeed in wooing Haven to join them in their recruitment efforts, or will she be able to thwart this devilish set’s plans to take the souls of her classmates on prom night at the hotel?
Agresti's debut novel (first in a projected trilogy) is a tense tale of angels, devils, and the cult of celebrity that is let down somewhat by an unrealistic setup, paranormal elements aside. Nerdy Haven Terra is suffering through her junior year of high school when she and two other high-achieving students are picked for a prestigious internship, living and working at a newly reopened luxury hotel in Chicago. The teens are repeatedly told that this is their chance to make connections with the rich and powerful, but Haven suspects the staff is hiding something sinister, a theory confirmed by a magical book that warns her of danger and tells her that she's in training for a greater purpose. When Haven figures out she and her friends are being groomed in a plot to collect souls, the race is on to save all three of them. The internship premise is pure wish fulfillment, and some characters, such as Haven's gay best friend Dante, are painted very broadly. Still, Agresti's story accelerates to an exciting climax, and the blossoming romance is sweet and satisfying. Ages 12 up.
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A really inventive, fun story. Well written and touching. I enjoyed it thoroughly.