Author: Carol Goodman.
Publisher: Viking Juvenile.
Published Date: 10/8/13.
Barnes and Noble
"At seventeen, Avaline Hall has already buried her mother, survived a horrific factory fire, and escaped from an insane asylum. Now she’s on her way to Blythewood Academy, the elite boarding school in New York’s mist-shrouded Hudson Valley that her mother attended—and was expelled from. Though she’s afraid her high society classmates won’t accept a factory girl in their midst, Ava is desperate to unravel her family’s murky past, discover the identity of the father she’s never known, and perhaps finally understand her mother’s abrupt suicide. She’s also on the hunt for the identity of the mysterious boy who rescued her from the fire. And she suspects the answers she seeks lie at Blythewood.
But nothing could have prepared her for the dark secret of what Blythewood is, and what its students are being trained to do. Haunted by dreams of a winged boy and pursued by visions of a sinister man who breathes smoke, Ava isn’t sure if she’s losing her mind or getting closer to the truth. And the more rigorously Ava digs into the past, the more dangerous her present becomes."
Where, oh where can I begin with this book?
Blythewood had me back and forth, and constantly debating with myself, about my opinion on this book. Before beginning I was bouncing of the walls with excitement, within the first few chapters I found myself to be a bit disappointed, then when things started to take off I couldn’t get enough, afterwards I was confused, and finally I fell in love with the ending.
Blythewood starts with a poor girl named Avaline Hall, Ava for short, who is working in a clothing factory. Her and many other poor girls, including her best friend Tillie, are locked into a room every day to work for a ridiculous amount of hours, and are paid very little. When they leave for the day, each girl is even searched, just to make sure she isn’t stealing any fabric or thread…
Ava hasn’t always worked in the Triangle factory, sewing sleeves. Before her mother committed suicide by drinking landrum, Ava worked for her; sewing and selling hats. But since her mother passed Ava has struggled to pay the bills and life is hard. When the Triangle factory catches fire one afternoon, there is no way out for the girls inside, Ava has no idea what to do. Some of the girls are running around wild, other girls are jumping to their death out the window. Ava’s best chance is to go to the roof with Tillie.
After slipping and falling, when Ava tries to climb across to the roof of the building next door, she’s saved by a pair of strong arms…who belong to a boy with dark eyes and hair…and wings. She can’t believe her eyes. She must be dreaming there’s no way he can have wings. The next thing she knows, she’s in a mental hospital, drugged up and accused of having mental issues. Six months pass, before Ava finally leaves this hell hole, and is greeted by a lady, who claims that she knows her grandmother, and that they’ve been looking for Ava.
Upon her arrival at her grandmother’s house, Ava learns a lot of herself and her mother. Ava has always known how much her mom loved Blythewood, and would speak about the school often, but still Ava didn’t know much about it. Her grandmother, a rather snarky thing, informed her that Ava’s mother got pregnant in her senior year at Blythewood, and ran away. Not even her grandmother knows who her father is.
Even though Ava just arrived, and hasn’t even settled in yet, she is told that her interview to Blythewood is in three days and they have a lot of work to do before then.
Upon being accepted, Ava is worried that people might judge her due to her mother’s history, but that is that last thing she worries about when final going to the Blythewood initiation in the forest and sees all the creatures that live within it. Fey. Blythewood isn’t just any school. Besides doing homework and studying for finals, Ava and her friends are learning to fight the creatures in the forest and search for Nathan’s twin sister Louisa who was lost in the forest weeks ago.
Ava also discovers who her dark angel is, and why his around her at the perfect moments; right when she needs him. Things aren’t as they seem, right when Ava thinks she knows, there’s always something else.
Overall Blythewood is a new and refreshing take on the fey world. The characters were enjoyable, and the mysterious boy Ava is always seeing is definitely a bad piece of man candy! Who doesn’t like one of those? I sure do.
The beginning was a bit slow for me, but the middle quickly sped up, and the ending shot it out of the park! I couldn’t believe the ending. I mean I did have my suspicions but I would have never guessed it!
If I had to point out a flaw, it would be the part left out. You don’t really know who or what Ava’s dad is, what happens to the librarian Ava contacts, or her moms past. The reader does get small glimpses, but not the full story. But this isn’t something I’m upset about, or something that I would mark the book down for in stars. Why? Because this is only the first book in the series, and I’m hoping these things will be revealed in later books.