Noa Sullivan and her family are coping with the sudden death of her sister Isla in an accident some months back. The new school year is starting, and Noa will now be a commuter at Harlow, the prestigious boarding school she and Isla had both attended, and roomed together at. Because her mother is so shattered that she can't be relied on to care for youngest daughter, Sasha, Sasha will also be attending Harlow, even though she's a year too young to enroll normally.
At Harlow, she meets a new student, Callum Forsythe. There's something different about Callum--literal sparks fly when they collide going through a door. It takes a while before she finds out what's really going on with him. Callum is Fae, banished from the Fae realm of Aurora for a crime he says he's innocent of. It was his brother's prank that went horribly wrong, and caused the death of their little sister, Lily. Callum took the blame to protect his brother Judah.
But in this realm, Fae lose their Light, their magic, and are gradually hollowed out--unless they can take Light from humans. Yet doing so causes real harm to the humans, draining them of the hope of future happiness.
The last thing Callum wants to do is drain Noa, after they've become friends.
Unfortunately, Callum is telling a lot of lies, and when his brother Judah comes through the Portal on his own, with mixed motives that include but aren't limited to rescuing Callum, the lies start to unravel. Meanwhile, Judah has stolen something that he thinks is just a keepsake, but in reality is a powerful magical talisman. Otec Darius, the boys' hated father and king of the Fae realm, has sent a Hunter after him to retrieve it--although the Hunter has his own agenda.
The magical system here is interesting. The Fae have different "colors" of magic. Callum is a Blue Fae; he can manipulate matter. Judah is Red; he manipulates thoughts. Green Fae manipulate feelings. Clear Fae have no powers of their own, but can Channel the powers of any of the other Fae.
Doing so is very, very painful for the Fae whose power gets Channeled. Darius doesn't care; neither does the Hunter.
Noa, Callum, and Judah are all struggling to do what they think is the right thing, and figure out what lies the others are telling, and whether they can trust each other at all. Trust gets ever more difficult as Noa discovers how Callum has meddled in her family long before they met, Judah steals Light from Noa's friends, Callum learns what Judah has stolen from their mother, and Judah learns of Callum's web of lies.
But if they don't find a way to work together, the Hunter is going to kill them all, in pursuit not of the mission Darius gave him, but his own goal of being the ruler of this realm.
This is an extremely well-done young adult fantasy adventure that adult fantasy readers won't regret picking up. It is the first of a trilogy, but it stands on its own with a satisfying ending to this part.
I received a free electronic galley of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.