Illusions of Fate

288p. HarperCollins/HarperTeen. Sept. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062135896; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9780062135919.
Gr 8 Up—Jessamin Olea earns her way into a boarding school in Albion where she is considered second class by the other students and referred to as "Island Rat" because she is from the island of Melie. She spends most of her time studying and alone until she meets Finn, a young lord who belongs to the nobility of Albion. This world is new to Jessamin—it has money, fancy dresses, tea parties, power, and magic. Readers will be intrigued by the mysterious birds that visit Jessamin as she learns more about Finn's world and the danger that surrounds him. Lord Downpike, one of Finn's enemies, is trying to do away with him and only Jessamin can stop Downpike's wrath. While the protagonist has no powers, she fortunately has good instincts and is about to help Finn. Jessamin is a strong, well-developed character to whom readers will relate; even readers who are not typically fans of the genre may be drawn into the narrative by the realistic voice of the main character. This well-written historical fantasy has romance, suspense, a fairy-tale feel, and a great ending that will leave readers cheering.—Karen Alexander, Lake Fenton High School, Linden, MI
Jessamin, an "island rat" of mixed heritage from sunny Melei, is a second-class citizen in dreary Albion, where she works and attends school. But after she meets the enchanting Lord Finn, she becomes embroiled in a world of magical birds, kidnappings, rival sorcerers, and national politics. White's novel is a zippy, entertaining concoction anchored by two likable romantic leads.

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