Secret Lives (Darke Academy) by Gabriella Poole

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Secret Lives (Darke Academy) by Gabriella Poole

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Category: Teens
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Loralei Haylock
Reviewed by Loralei Haylock
Summary: Perfect supernatural romance escapist reading. Familiar but different enough to be interesting.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 288 Date: August 2009
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
ISBN: 978-0340989241

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Cassie Bell knows the value of information. Raised in a care home, she's tough and smart, and when she earns a scholarship to the exclusive Darke Academy, she knows it's her ticket to a new and better life. The snobby, upper class students who bought their way in aren't going to stop her experiencing life at the Academy to its fullest, and taking all the opportunities it offers.

But soon Cassie realises not all is right at the Academy. What is with the elite Few? Loosely described as Prefects, they are eerily perfect, and seem to have power over the teachers. Cassie knows that information could save her, but she isn't the only one snooping round the Few.

Jake Johnson, a fellow scholarship student is looking for answers of his own. His sister died at the academy in mysterious circumstances the year before, and he wants to find out who, or perhaps what, is responsible. His main suspect – Ranjit, the enigmatic leader of the Few. Cassie is determined to figure out the mysteries surrounding the academy, but can she figure out exactly what she's getting herself into, before it's too late?

Ah, Stephenie Meyer has a lot to answer for. These sort of books are ten a penny at the moment. Some of them good, some of them less so. Secret Lives falls about exactly in the middle. It's not the best of the bunch, but it's certainly not the worst.

It's fairly obvious from the start what is going on at the Darke Academy. You enter the book with certain expectations, and though you won't be disappointed, Poole doesn't really do anything to exceed or challenge those expectations. Despite a slight twist on Vampire mythology, there are no real surprises. Which is fine, provided you like this sort of book enough to not need any surprises. Guilty as charged. I love them. And I can't even claim to be teenaged and angsty.

So, if you're looking for another supernatural romance series, look no further. Here's the start of one that promises to have at least two new instalments published next year. It's a perfect bit of escapist fiction, familiar, but different enough to be interesting.

My thanks to the publishers for sending a copy.

For more great supernatural thriller/romance, try Rachel Caine, Kelley Armstrong and Lili St Crow.

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Buy Secret Lives (Darke Academy) by Gabriella Poole at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Secret Lives (Darke Academy) by Gabriella Poole at


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