Title: Phoebe Pope and the Year of Four (Shapers #1)
Author: Nya Jade
Source: Received through blog tour in exchange for an honest review
The students of Green Lane Academy roam their halls unaware that below their manicured campus exists a prestigious school of an entirely different kind . . .
Sixteen-year-old Phoebe Pope has enrolled at the Campus Below: a spy academy for shape-shifters hidden deep beneath the grounds of a boarding school whose humans unknowingly protect it. There, thanks to a carefully planned schedule, she leads a double life: spy trainee Below and normal teenager Above.
As if two course loads, concealing a secret power she alone wields, and coping with her father’s recent death weren’t enough, Phoebe finds herself developing major feelings for actor and teen heartthrob Colten Chase, who attends the Campus Above and appears to be majoring in winning Phoebe’s heart. But when officials learn that Phoebe may be at the center of a startling prophecy, she becomes the target of shape-shifting assassins who will stop at nothing to suppress the truth.
Now Phoebe’s lessons about Shaper’s enemies and spycraft take on great importance as a menace stalks the campus, with Phoebe as its target. Meanwhile, what began as an unlikely relationship with Colten, quickly morphs into heartache when she suspects that something sinister lurks beneath this movie star’s glitter and fame. Suddenly, Phoebe’s caught in a mesh of lies, betrayals, and danger where she doesn’t know who to trust, and needs to rely on herself—and her secret power—to get to the truth and to stay alive.
Phoebe Pope and the Year of Four is the first book in the Shapers series by Nya Jade. The story centers around Phoebe, a 16 year old girl who enrolls in an academy for shape-shifters. Humans live and take classes above ground – while the shifters live below ground. The humans are unknowingly protecting shifters from their enemy. They also take classes upstairs, mingling in with the humans and somehow this setup works perfectly...until now. There is an insider taking information back to the enemy, and Phoebe finds herself in all sorts of trouble.
The world building was great. I found the double-lives of the shape-shifters interesting. However, I wonder how their entrances to the upstairs academy go unnoticed. I mean, you would think that the humans would see others using these entrances and wonder where they were coming from or going to.
The love interest is Colton – a Hollywood movie star that is also new to the academy. While all the other girls are not-so-secretly drooling over him, he seems to only have eyes for Phoebe. Phoebe is down to earth, and not at all like the glamorous stars that Colton is often surrounded by. Understandably, Phoebe has her guard up. Colton seems to genuinely care for her, but he is so mysterious. Phoebe feels like she can't trust anybody. A nice little relationship develops between them – nothing too steamy though. It's age appropriate material for young adult readers. I would have liked to have seen just a little more romance between these two.
I liked the character of Phoebe. I didn't feel a connection to her at first though. She has been through a lot – including the recent loss of her father. She seemed a little distant to me at the very beginning but was easy to relate to once she started warming up. She quickly became friends with Hayley, who was such a great background character. She had such a bubbly personality and brought some much needed smiles to Phoebe's stressful life.
There was a lot of action involved, as well as mystery and suspense. There were some twists in the story, including an unexpected traitor at the end. I liked that the author didn't give out hints and I didn't see it coming until it hit me in the face. This is a very unique story that fans of YA paranormal romance will love!
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