Phoebe Pope and the Year of Four by Nya Jade
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.
I know I'm going to get a lot of grumbling, but I don't give a damn. This book, for me, felt a little Harry Potter to me. I'm not saying that this is as epic as Harry Potter, but I'm saying I felt like there were a lot of similarities so just shut up and put down your weapons. Between Phoebe's dead parents, her going to a special school to harness her skills, the professors with secrets, the drama between specific students, and the uncertainty of what the hell is going on, I read this while a movie of it played in my head. And I loved it.
I love Phoebe- she's smart, she's cautious, it's like she knows something just isn't right and while she doesn't know what it is, she's playing her cards close to her chest because essentially- she doesn't know who to trust. Phoebe is kind of a freak because she's not a full shifter- she's a Hypha. Hypha's are half human, half shifter. Basically nobody knows what she'll be when she goes through Conversion (when they find out their shifting creature) and so you have that plot line throughout. I love how Phoebe's secret power is a kind of a mix between mind reading and being able to pick up on emotions and know whether they are genuine or not. At first I felt like that was the dumbest secret power ever UNTIL the book starts rolling and then it totally makes sense and I can see how the Vigos (bad guys) would want to harness that. TOTALLY GET IT.
I absolutely could not put this book down and found myself reading it when I really should have been you know, helping my kid with homework or sleeping. I didn't sleep for an entire night because this book is consuming.
I still don't know how I feel about Colten and his little secret, but I feel like as much as I want to not like him... I'm going to reserve judgment for the sequel. Because I'm just putting it out there, there better be a sequel because there are too many loose strings. I need answers, dammit.
But I absolutely think you should pick this book up if you are at all a fan of YA paranormal. I really think you'll like it and I hope that when the sequel comes (because I'm being an optimist, just one step below of demanding one while waving a pitchfork) that I get to review it.