The Sweetest Dark by Shana Abe

First, the horribly truncated summary: Orphan Annie wins a trip to private school during World War I and finds out what she really is.

Yes, I said “what,” not “who.”

Disclaimer: I received this book from Goodreads First Reads!

Our orphan, Eleanore Jones, hears voices and music. She has heard these for as long as she can remember. While in the orphanage, the voice within commands her to jump from the window, which she does. Everyone thinks she’s crazy and they ship her off to the madhouse until she’s deemed better. The voice stops and she learns to ignore the music enough to be sent back, but she’s deemed “tainted” by the orphanage upon her return.

Fast forward to WWI! Zeppelins are dropping bombs onto London. One manages to hit her orphanage and the orphans need to be sent elsewhere. In the midst of this, Eleanore (nickname Lora) is selected as a charity case by the Duke of Idylling to attend his school. Lora doesn’t fit in with the wealthy students of her school, but she does make an impression on two young men: Armand, the duke’s son, and Jesse, the youthful groundskeeper who knows why she hears voices and songs that come from jewels and other metallic objects.

Love triangle? Yes.

However, the triangle doesn’t last long enough for me to really hate it. It’s more about Lora’s journey to find out why she can hear songs that no one else can hear and why she can turn ethereal while standing on ledges. All this happens in the midst of female boarding school revenge stories and air raids. It’s a young adult book, true, but I really enjoyed it.

4 stars.


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