[Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway] Phoebe Pope and the Year of Four by Nya Jade

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Phoebe Pope and the Year of Four (Shapers, #1) 
Title: Phoebe Pope and the Year of Four (Shapers #1)
Author: Nya Jade
Release Date: October 30, 2012
Published by: Dreamwell Publishing
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.

Arguably the most enjoyable YA Paranormal read I've delved into for quite a while, Phoebe Pope and the Year of Four is a novel that I'm sure that most people will have no trouble liking. Author Nya Jade did a tremendous job in world-building - I was thoroughly immersed in the word she created, and I found myself desperate for more information. I won't lie though - the first few pages did throw me off a little bit. A lot of details were just all over the place, and at first I couldn't make myself understand what was what, but once I got the hang off things, I just soaked everything all in. Jade also managed to walk the fine line between showing and telling, and the just enriched her storytelling even the more so.

I love the premise - there exist two schools, the Above and Below in one place, where one caters to purely humans while the other caters to Shapers, or shapeshifters, and the Shapeshifters must attend both. The Shapers have a mission, a career path to undertake once they graduate, and that's to kill Vigos which are evil shapeshifters that are considered as abominations. I enjoyed the interactions between the Shapers and humans; as well as those between the Shapers themselves. I had no problem connecting with the characters, most especially the MC, Phoebe, as well. I loved learning about the world of Vigos and Shapers with Phoebe and her classmates, and I can't wait to learn more about it.

I enjoyed reading through Phoebe doing her best to live two lives, and they're not easy at that. In her 'Above' life, Phoebe found herself the apple of Colten's, a movie star, eye, and Phoebe is understandably overwhelmed. She's not exactly used to having boys give her the time of day, and here was a bonafide celebrity just showering her with attention. Meanwhile, in Phoebe's 'Below' life, she finds herself the center of a prophecy that endangers her life. Add these all to Phoebe's other problems - Phoebe wields a power that she must keep secret per her father's wishes, and Phoebe hasn't exactly recovered from her father's death at the hands of Vigos either. Yet despite all these, I admire Phoebe's sheer determination and how strong-willed she is to do her best in everything she does.

Initially, I was wary of the development of Phoebe and Colten's relationship. I was half-expecting something like insta-love, but I'm happy to note that we readers don't get anything like that. While an integral part of the story, the budding romance between the two isn't the primary focus of this series, and that's something that I'm actually a huge fan of. I also like how Colten never took advantage of Phoebe's naivety.

Simply put, I loved this novel, and I can't wait to read its succeeding sequels. I'm not going to lie though, I found some of the dialogues and the way certain paragraphs were phased a little iffy, but that's something that I can look past. Anyway, Phoebe is a character that I loved reading about, and I enjoyed being a part of her journey. Moreover, Jade did a bang-up job with the plot and storyline - I actually didn't predict the twists, and that's saying something, because I have a knack for guessing the twists beforehand...

Rating: 4.5 Stars

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