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22459608 I received this ebook from NetGalley and Spencer Hill Press in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis: Talented rock guitarist Beth Collins has been barely holding herself together for months, ever since her boyfriend and bandmate became the latest victim in a string of suspicious disappearances. When her her brother is injured in an accident and she sees something dark billowing around him as he hovers close to death, she’s convinced her sanity is collapsing for good. Then she’s accepted by a boarding school for the musically gifted. All of her new friends are bursting with talent, but they’re also keeping secrets. Can she trust Vincent, who’s so sweet that his very touch makes her fears melt away? Or Xavier, who’s trying to tell her something but is hiding even more? And will anyone be safe when her true Talent comes out?

While I was a little uncertain at first, Until Beth is one of those books that kind of sneaks up on you and at the end you wind up thinking “Wow! That was surprisingly good!” 

The world-building is great, although perhaps because of the shortness of the book (260 pages), there’s a lot thrown at you in the first quarter of the story and it’s a little confusing, but once Beth is at the school, everything starts becoming more clear, even while the mystery at the center of the story remains. 

Beth is a likable and completely relatable character. She hasn’t let go of her missing boyfriend Sam, although after five months, it seems like everyone else is ready to move on. When her brother is seriously injured in an accident, she struggles with feelings of guilt and jumps at the opportunity to attend this mysterious academy for the artistically gifted. Obviously, the school is much more than that, but this is the only predictable thing in this book. No one is who they seem to be, including Beth herself. I was a little disappointed because I thought from the cover and synopsis, that music would play a much bigger role, but except for a few instances, this wasn’t the case.

The secondary characters and their talents are interesting and hopefully the next book will explore their backstories even more. Despite this falling squarely in the urban fantasy genre, Beth and the other characters are realistically portrayed and multi-dimensional. While there’s a hint at a potential love triangle, the emphasis is more on plot and character development, so no annoying romantic entanglements really came into play. 

As always, I’m trying really hard not to include any spoilers, but picture the X-Men with an intriguing mystery attached. The ending is a set-up for the next book, but it’s not a cliffhanger that will leave you frustrated. While I think there’s some room for improvement in regards to plot direction and character development, overall, I really enjoyed this and I’m looking forward to the sequel.

 

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