Author: Nya Jade
Series: Phoebe Pope, #1
Publication date: October 28th 2012
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
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.
Books which feature teenagers from paranormal species attending a school are commonplace – Vampire Academy, House of Night and Harry Potter to name just a few. However, in The Year of Four, the first book in the Phoebe Pope series, Nya Jade puts a new spin on this young adult trope.
The reader quickly learns that Phoebe Pope has two hearts; one for her shifter nature and the other for her human side. Yet, Phoebe is still pre-conversion, unsure what her shifter identity will be. This is more significant for her because she is a Hypha, with a human mother and a shifter father, although with her mother has disappeared, her father dead and her grandfather who is on a year-long birdwatching excursion, Phoebe is alone in the world.
Phoebe Pope is not the most inspirational female protagonist I have come across in young adult fiction. Not surprisingly, she is still grieving for her father and at times her melancholic character is overwhelming. I really wanted to like her and sympathize with her situation, particularly considering the danger she is in, but I also wanted her to take some control of her life and powers.
I think one of the causes of my inability to connect with Phoebe is Jade’s choice to focus on Phoebe’s relationship with Colten Chase. I understand that romance is almost a prerequisite in young adult paranormal novels and I do like that Jade puts a twist on this, but I would have also liked to see Phoebe develop individually.
The Year of Four is not a book I wanted to devour in one sitting, despite the fact that paranormal is my favourite genre. Yet, this is also a novel which has a gripping conclusion and though this did not make up for the conflict I had with parts of The Year of Four beforehand, I definitely finished Jade’s story on a high.
I did not feel completely immersed in Phoebe Pope’s world but Nya Jade does offer her reader an enjoyable experience and I think The Year of Four will appeal to many fans of young adult paranormal romances.
Author: Nya Jade
Series: Phoebe Pope, #2
Publication date: April 2017
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
According to the press, Phoebe Pope and teen movie star Colten Chase are no longer an item—which is just how the happy new couple like it. And yet there’s trouble in paradise . . .
Phoebe is haunted by dreams that show her things she can’t possibly know about—including a pact between Colten and a wanted assassin. In the daylight, she struggles to keep a newly emerging power hidden, even as her hands itch to wield it.
Meanwhile, in the wake of their escape from a Vigo crèche, Phoebe and her fellow Hyphas study under lock and key at the Campus Below. As the foursome wait to see who among them will fulfill the prophecy, someone dear to Phoebe is kidnapped by a powerful Vigo determined to use her to spy on the Shaper royalty. When the Hyphas are called to the Royal Court, Phoebe refuses to heed warnings of imminent danger for she will do whatever it takes to rescue her loved one.
But once at court, nothing is as it first appears. A sinister force controls some royals, while others whisper behind closed doors about forbidden alliances. And as Phoebe draws on her courage to complete the task set by her enemy, she makes a startling discovery—one that upends her father’s memory.
With dangerous conspiracies surfacing, Phoebe must uncover what the Royal Shapers really want from her, and decide whether there’s room for Colten in her unraveling life