Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Elite by Jennifer Banash

The Elite by Jennifer Banash

It's the most exclusive luxury apartment building on New York's Upper East Side. If you don't live there, you don't know how to live...

When Casey McCloy steps into The Bramford, she's overwhelmed by the sophistication and elegance of it all. Fresh from the Midwest, she's moved to New York City to live with her grandmother and attend the prestigious Meadowlark Academy. Here, all that matters is who you know. The designer to know is Zac Posen. The girl to know is Madison Macallister: popular, pretty and platinum blond. She's not just Casey's new classmate and neighbor; she's an icon. So Casey aims to get in with Madison and her gorgeous gal pals from the start. As the reigning queen of coolness, Madison is capable of destroying reputations with one well-times whisper. Better to be on her good side.

After a haute makeover from her new frenemy Madison, Casey is wearing the right clothes, saying the right things, and meeting the right people. Including Drew, the boy-about-town Madison thinks belongs to her and her alone...

Casey McCloy finds herself moving from Normal, Illinois to New York City, which is anything but normal, to live with grandmother while her mother heads to London. Casey's grandmother lives in The Bram. Only the most exclusive apartment building in town. She's nervous. She's sweating bullets (what an embarrassing habit!) and her hair won't behave. On her way to her grandmother's apartment, Casey runs into Madison Macallister and her friends Phoebe and Sophie. It's obvious by the looks of the girls that they are only the most popular IT girls. So when they invite Casey to join them across the street to sunbathe, Casey jumps at the chance to hang out.

When Drew shows up and starts flirting with Casey she's immediately smitten. But Madison is less than thrilled. Drew is hers, and hers alone. When the heat starts to really ratchet up between Casey and Drew so does Madison's anger. Casey knows these girls have the power to make or break her in her new life, the problem is, Casey's not so sure she wants to be made but she is sure she doesn't want to be broken.

I'm not really sure how I feel about this book. It's been a long while since I've picked up a YA novel and felt that it was less than fabulous. Unfortunately, I just didn't really connect with this one. For one, when I read books in this genre, I always think about the young ladies I know and would I feel comfortable giving this book to them to read. The answer with this one was No.

The kids in this book are starting their Junior Year of high school, and let me tell ya, the way they drink alcohol (and apparently have been for some time) and the way they casually talk about lust was just a bit scary to me as an adult. All of the characters save Drew have horrible relationships with their parents.

The Elite is written in Third Person, and there are five, yes five, POV's. While this isn't unheard of, the book is but 237 pages long and I didn't really have enough time with any one story line to really connect to the characters. I realize that this is a first book in a new series, but there was just too much set up for what I think must be future story lines, for me to really feel the major plot (the Casey-Drew-Madison plot).

I'm not a big fashion kinda gal. My wardrobe is fairly basic and consists mostly of jeans and tee shirts. There were so many name brand and high fashion names being thrown at me in the pages of this book my head was spinning. I realize that the book is set in Upper East Side New York, where fashion is a big deal and money is no issue, but I'm from the real world, and well, I didn't like all the name dropping.

The Elite is getting rave reviews all over the 'net these days, and you should really read up on them and decide for yourself on this one. It just didn't fit in with my idea of what good YA fiction is all about. I don't like reading about over-privileged poor little rich girls, that have a mean streak wider than their parents bank accounts. I think that Casey could have been a superior character, but her growth was really more told than shown, and with so many POV's the characters all fell flat.

Will I read the next book in the series? I just don't know. I'd like to see Madison grow up a bit, and I'd like to see a bit more of her friends, Phoebe and Sophie and how they deal with some of the things going on in their lives. But I just don't think I'll be able to bring myself to do it. With so many wonderful YA titles out there yet for me to read, I'll probably pass on this next one.

Take Care


Jennifer Banash said...

Sorry you didn't enjoy the book, but thanks for reading it anyway! But, yeah, if you don;t like stories about over-privileged rich kids, then my series definitely isn't for you! It's meat to be in the vein of other series' like Gossip Girl, but with more realism and more heart. There will be three books in the series, and probably more when all is said and done--which is why I had to take my time developing the characters. In any case, thank for taking the time to write a thoughtful review. Sorry it wasn't your cup of tea,

Jennifer Banash said...

Umm . . . that should've been *meant* not *meat* which would be amusing, but have an entirely different meaning LOL!

Thanks again for taking the time to read my book!

ChariDee said...

Hi Jennifer, thanks for stopping by. I'm sorry I couldn't write a better review, but I did want to make sure that readers know the book is getting really great reviews elsewhere so they should check those out before making a decision.

Brandy said...

As Daughter is 13, I'll give this one a pass. But, thank you for reviewing it. *g* Have you read anything by Maryrose Wood? She wrote 'Why I Let My Hair Grow Out' and I enjoyed it and would have no problem letting my Daughter read it. There's also a follow-up book titled 'How I Found the Perfect Dress', which I haven't read yet.
Again, thanks!

ChariDee said...

Hi Brandy, no I haven't read any of hers yet, but I think I will as I've seen excerpts in many a book. I'm kind of on a YA kick right now and am reading Prom Queen Geeks by Laura Preble and then I'll be reading Fringe Benefits by Valerie Frankel.

jenny said...

I have to agree on your comments. I really didn't enjoy This book either. I Would have liked to have more of in depted relationship with only a couple of characters.Not five. Although the last chapter was probably
the best one of the book.

ChariDee said...

Hey Jenny, I have the second book in this series and I've needed to read it for a couple of weeks now, how about we do a double review? That can kick it all off for you joining me!

jenny said...

sounds good just let me get a copy and I'm ready to go.

ChariDee said...

I'll pass this one on to you as soon as I get it finished!