Fans of Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins will find plenty to love about Delcroix Academy: The Candidates by Inara Scott — the first book in a new series. It’s got a winning mix of paranormal powers and boarding school drama, all intensified with some conspiracy theories that would have Fox Mulder giddy with excitement.
Delcroix Academy tells the story of high school freshman Dancia — who’s spent her life trying to blend in and avoid making friends. That’s because she has a power — and sometimes, that power causes bad things to happen to the people who threaten her loved ones. But suddenly, Dancia’s life of mediocrity changes when she’s recruited to join the prestigious Delcroix Academy. And while she may not stand out academically at her new school, Dancia finds herself making friends for the first time ever — and catching the eye of the hottest guy in school. But her new best friend Jack isn’t convinced Delcroix is all it’s cracked up to be, and despite his shady past, he’s determined to protect Dancia. No matter what.
While the book starts slow, it shows that Scott is carefully setting up her world, her characters and the various dramas that make up their lives. This sort of attentive foundation-building can only mean good things for future books in the Delcroix Academy series. And the slow pacing doesn’t stick around. By the half-way mark, the story really starts to take off — and the unfolding drama is entirely captivating. Scott keeps you on the edge of your seat, as you follow the action and try to piece together all the little clues she’s been dropping. It’s an intriguing mystery that keeps you guessing, even beyond the last page.
And that’s what makes this book such a success. Because while The Candidates ends with some answers, it leaves many more questions open for the sequel, The Watchers, and other future books in the series. It’s a mystery that will surely have readers clamoring for more and more.
Look for book 2, The Watchers, in stores August 2011.
You can also read the first chapter for free at Inara’s website, and check out the trailer below: