Author: Anne Osterlund
Pubication: May 14, 2009
Summary taken from goodreads:
With a past too terrible to speak of, and a bleak, lonely future ahead of her, Aerin Renning is shocked to find she has earned a place at the most exclusive school in the universe. Aerin excels at Academy 7 in all but debate, where Dane Madousin - son of one of the most powerful men in the Alliance - consistently outtalks her. Fortunately Aerin consistently outwits him at sparring. They are at the top of their class until Dane jeopardizes everything and Aerin is unintentionally dragged down with him. When the pair is given a joint punishment, an unexpected friendship - and romance - begins to form. But Dane and Aerin both harbor dangerous secrets, and the two are linked in ways neither of them could ever have imagined. . .
4 STARS - I REALLY LIKED IT
Don't let the cover fool you, this book is not about an overly-dramatic girl and her shallow relationships with people. It's about a girl and a boy who have painful pasts, unwilling to share their horrors to each other as they become friends and work to uncover a startling secret that changes everything. And it takes place in a universe where you can live on different planets, which is pretty awesome.
Actually, the characters are pretty awesome. Aerin had to fight to survive every day for the past seven years as she lived as a slave on Vizhan. When she escapes and is given a chance to go to a prestigious school, she does everything that she can to prove her worth there, and it pays off since she's at the top of her class. She's hardworking and smart and tough, but she's also vulnerable since she has never had to deal with the power-plays that occurs at every school. She never even had a friend before. Aerin was like a wild animal, self-protective and easily distrustful, but when she finally opened up, she was this confident and intriguing girl that I could easily sympathize with as she uncovers the secret.
Dane is...complex. He starts off as a fearless, rebellious boy, unaffected by the attention his name brings. But as the book progresses, and you find out about his family and his home-life, everything starts to make sense, and you can't help but feel sorry for him, too.
One thing that I really liked about this book was the fact that there was none of that insta-love tripe. The two started off as rivals and then progressed to friendship, and then slowly but surely, their relationship turns to romance as they finally uncover each other's secrets. And it's sweet. The compelling writing really enhances those moments when Dane starts to unconsciously care for Aerin.
And the ending... There is something utterly satisfying about finishing a non-contemporary book that ties up all of its loose ends; I completely loved this book because of that. Maybe it's just me. After all, I've been reading a lot of series lately, and you know how they always end with some cliffhanger. :\
Anyway, I enjoyed this book. I'm glad that I decided to pick it up at the store a while back.