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Illuminate: A Gilded Wings Novel, Book One Hardcover – March 6, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


* "Smart, well-crafted and sophisticated; without a doubt, this belongs on the top of the stack of the current crop of angel books. More, please!"
Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Part The Picture of Dorian Gray, part The Devil Wears Prada, this original and engrossing story will keep surprising readers right up to the thrilling climax."
Josephine Angelini, author of Starcrossed

"Haven is a character who will definitely surprise you—in the best way possible. Mysterious and deliciously creepy, Agresti's debut will keep you turning pages until the explosive climax."
Cara Lynn Shultz, author of Spellbound

"Agresti's story accelerates to an exciting climax, and the blossoming romance is sweet and satisfying."
Publisher's Weekly

"Move over, Twilight!"
US Weekly

"Equal parts romantic and mysterious, and will keep you itching for the next installment!"

"Such an enchanting book and we can’t wait to read more in the Gilded Wings series. While the cover reels you in (How could it not? It’s so pretty!), the words inside keep you reading. There’s angels, mystery, beauty . . . which all rolled up into one, makes it magical."
Just Jared Jr.

About the Author

Aimee Agresti is an entertainment journalist and author. As a staff writer for Us Weekly magazine, she interviewed many celebrities and penned the magazine’s coffee table book Inside Hollywood. In addition to Us, her work has appeared in People, the Washington Post, Mademoiselle, and the New York Observer. Illuminate is her first novel for teens. She lives in Washington, D.C. Visit her website at

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Series: Gilded Wings (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (March 6, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547626142
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547626147
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,117,076 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Michelle @ The Passionate Bookworms on January 12, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
To begin talking about such an amazing story, I must tell you 1 thing that helped tip it's awesomeness over the edge. The Gorgeous Cover!

Now you may be thinking " Covers with girls in dresses are overdone, let's be rid of them!" Or maybe that's just what I think off and on. But here is what really made this one work for me. SHE ACTUALLY WEARS A RED DRESS IN THE STORY! Of course I won't tell you when or why, but lets just say the description matches up well, and makes me want the dress and love the cover even more. Not only does the dress tie into the story, but also the little shadow of a wing on the cover as well! Sigh.. I love it when covers tie into stories.

Now onto the rest of the amazingness that was Illuminate :

Illuminate is a story that I could not finish in one sitting. Not because it was too long ( not to me anyway ) I was busy, unable to sit down for hours at a time to read. However the fact that it took me longer to read than most book recently did not detract from it's awesomeness, to me it added to it. Too often do I read a book in one sitting and instantly feel as if it ended too quick. Illuminate was a story that I took in small chunks, then let it settle in my mind overnight, it was wonderful. I enjoyed having a story that made me slow down a little bit, if I had read it much faster I think I would have missed things!

Aimee Agresti has this wonderful style of writing, detailed and explanatory without being overwhelming. Mixed into the story is some wonderful Art history, architecture, photography, As well as Capon and Chicago history! As an art student I really appreciated the way she describes things, without it feeling like I am taking a class.

Sigh.. How to talk about this book!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Lauren Johnson on December 12, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
The cover caught my eye right from the beginning (I just love a pretty dress with some sparkly writing). The story and descriptions used by the author are unique and beautiful and throws a great deal of context into the mix. The characterization was also good with the author making Haven stronger as the plot moves on and creating instances where she is able to grow and develop her own personality and stances.

The main problem with this book was that it was just too slow. It seemed like half the book was over before any of the plot really kicked in or any action started happening. Luckily the second half made the book worth reading. The buildup of the story is needed but a little more action along the way would have moved the story along at a quicker pace and made the beginning more enjoyable to read.

Note: I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
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12 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Irish of Ticket to anywhere on March 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
***As originally posted on my blog TicketToAnywhere (dot) net***

Illuminate by Aimee Agresti is a book that falls into the "pretty cover syndrome" in which a gorgeous cover gives lots of promise to the contents but that the words inside never quite live up. As I was reading this one I kept referring to it as the book of no plot as nothing ever seemed to happen. Which you might think odd since not only is Illuminate 531 pages long but its the start of a series. But while there are many words and descriptions (and endless mentions of how heels make the MCs feet hurt in a multitude of ways) there isn't a whole lot of substance.

As a whole I found the main character, Haven Terra (sidenote: why do MCs never seem to have normal names anymore? everything must be so exotic), anywho...the main character is supposed to be this uber genius and yet I never really got that. She was a very passive heroine for most of the book taking everything in stride and following orders that magically appeared to her in a book without question. Now, while I might not be the genius that Haven is supposed to be, I don't see myself blindly following magic words in a book. I know it was supposed to add suspense and make the whole plotless book have plot and substance and a sinister feel....but those thoughts and feelings that I know I'm supposed to have never materialized. I just kept asking (often aloud to the amusement of friends nearby) why she would take a books word for anything.

Then there are the other people in the hotel. There are these group of super pretty people who work there, called The Outfit, and while they are supposed to add a sense of sophistication and also sinister air...they were nothing more than zombies.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lili's Reflections on July 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I had really high hopes for this one, so it kills me to say that it didn't live up to my expectations, though it was still a decent story. Instead of being amazing like I was hoping, it was just okay.

Overall, I thought that the concept of this book was amazing. A group of people that were all incredibly gorgeous are in league with the Underworld and they're pretty much trafficking souls. It was very creative. And by the cover of the novel and the name of the series, you can easily tell that Haven is one of the few good people fighting against the monstrously huge population of the evil, even if she doesn't know it yet. While I very much enjoyed the plot and how Agresti managed to get the kids to the hotel via perfect grades (something I wish would happen to me!) I was not always happy with the delivery. So I want to spend this review explaining what, I believe, hindered this awesome-sounding novel from reaching its full potential.

First of all, the characterization. Haven was an incredibly smart girl that took pride in that. She's not all that physically attractive and she's ashamed of scars over her heart and on her back. She'll do anything to keep them covered up. Found in a ditch on the side of the road as a baby, she was adopted by a nurse named Joan that raised her the way children in young adult novels should be raised--seriously and studiously. She was no absentee parent, which I enjoyed. However, my one pet peeve with Haven is that as smart as she claimed to be, she was very naive to obvious negativity around her and she was very gullible. She had no common sense and lacked the ability to put two and two together, especially when a handsome boy that normally would not pay attention to her decided to realize she actually existed.
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