Lovin' los libros

A book blog dedicated to young adult and new adult novels

Review: Elite by Rachel Van Dyken

By 12:19 PM , , , ,

Elite (Eagle Elite #1)
  by: Rachel Van Dyken

Publication Date: July 9, 2013
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Age Group: New Adult
Source: e-copy provided by NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Page Count: 322 pages
Order Links: Amazon | B&N
My Rating: 2/5 stars

When I won the annual Eagle Elite College Scholarship lottery, I was thrilled. After all, my grandma had just died and I wanted to take care of my aging grandpa -- he couldn't be a farmer in Wyoming forever. And graduating from Eagle Elite meant opportunity.

But I wasn't counting on meeting Nixon.

Nor was I counting on the rules of the Elect.

1. Do not touch The Elect.
2. Do not look at The Elect.
3. Do not speak to The Elect.

And worst of all? Don't discover the secret they hide, because in the end, you may just realize... it's about you.

*This is a New Adult Book, blood, violence, cursing, sexual references, and drug use. Not recommended for those under 17.*

I honestly don't know where to start this review. This book was not at all what I was expecting. And I think that's why I absolutely could not put it down. Yet, as I read, I found myself wanting to throw my Nook across the room in disgust more times than I could count! The storyline was definitely intriguing. I don't think it was entirely believable, but I was entertained all the same. The one thing I could NOT get over however, was the treatment of the main character. It was wrong on so many levels and my heart broke for this poor girl.

Trace has won a scholarship to attend a private college and she is actually quite excited about it. After losing her grandmother, she now lives with her grandfather and she wants nothing more than to be able to take care of him. Attending a school such as this pretty much guarantees a solid future of opportunities. However, Trace never expected the type of people that went there. She isn't faced with over privileged, snobby rich people. She is confronted immediately by rude, outright degradation and shame. Seriously, my mouth dropped open at how vapid these people were. Her 'welcoming' committee is a group of guys, called the Elect, who basically tell her that she is less than nothing and that she will not survive if she doesn't follow their elitist rules. What. the. Hell.

"If an Elect talks to you, never make eye contact. Because, technically you don't exist. You're just a pathetic excuse for a human being, and at this school, you're a real tragedy. You see, while one of the Elect is out running for president and basically ruling the free world, you'll be lucky to be working for one of our companies. You follow the rules, and maybe we'll throw you a bone."

Trace doesn't go through some form of freshmen hazing- this is torture pure and simple. I've got to hand it to her- if this were me, I would have been on the first bus out of there. Yet, she remains and while she's breaking down inside, she does her best to hold it in and not show too much weakness. Things get marginally better when she meets her roommate, Monroe. Monroe happens to be the biggest asshole on the planet's sister. Yet, she is kind and understanding to Trace and tries to help her as much as she can.

I will be honest. I had a feeling biggest dickhole ever (Nixon) would be the love interest and I was literally shaking my head going, "No. There is NO way, I could ever warm up to this guy and like him after the things he said." And then I was left stupefied at how TRACE could ever feel anything romantic towards the guy who has publically humiliated her on more than one occasion and treated her as horribly as he did. I mean, REALLY?

"Trust me, Farm Girl. I don't care how much makeup you put on, or how expensive your clothes may be. I don't even give a rat's ass that half the student body likes you right now. You are charity. I wouldn't even screw you if you paid me. So, the answer is no. And next time you feel like showing up to one of my school's parties, at least have the decency to wear some new shoes."

Nixon's lackeys, Chase and Tex, weren't as bad as I originally thought. After Nixon made that statement, they were the ones, along with Monroe, who walked her back to her dorm. I was sick at this point. Trace felt confident and optimistic heading to that party, as Monroe had helped her get dressed and she was really proud of her shoes, as they were her grandmother's and they were funky vintage. Chase, at least, was sweet enough to buy her a new pair of boots and apologize for what happened the previous night. However, the one thing I learned from reading this is that no one is who they seem to be- betrayal and backstabbing is at every turn, and Chase, while seemingly a good guy, does make a stupid ass decision that had me pissed at him as well.

After being drugged by Phoenix, another Elect member, and carted off to a football player's dorm, Trace must do the walk of shame the next morning, earning her the title of whore and slut. (Thankfully, nothing happened with the football player) While Phoenix was the one who drugged her, Chase was the one who deposited her in the boys' dorm instead of her own. Nixon is furious at this, claiming he had no knowledge of this and that his friends had gone too far. Soon, Nixon becomes a bit more compassionate towards her, protecting her from the teasing and taunting that HE had initially started from that night at the party. After seeing the inscription on the back of her necklace, everything takes a 180. Suddenly, he is sweet and tender, treating her like a princess and that nothing is good enough for her.

This is where the book went in a different direction. I continued reading, not for the 'romance', but because I was genuinely curious about Nixon and his secretive background. Who has that kind of power at school? The Elect is in a league of their own, having their own lunch period, key cards, elevator access, you name it. Once you find out why this is, it's still not believable, but it was interesting to say the least. The story definitely took crazy twists and turns I never saw coming, but I just couldn't get past the horrible way Trace was treated and humiliated. Nixon doesn't even try to excuse his behavior. It's kind of an 'it is what it is' thing and I was seriously irritated. Sure, Chase may have been a dick and dropped her off at some random guy's dorm, which is bad, but not half as bad as verbally abusing and degrading her like Nixon did.

As interesting as the side story was, I don't think I'll be able to continue on with the series, because of my absolute disgust with the way a female was treated and how it seemed to be so easily dismissed, once Nixon discovered who she really was and what she meant to him.

This was my first book by Rachel Van Dyken, but I've heard some great things about some of her other books, so I think I'll give those a try instead.

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  1. Well they all sounds rather annoying to say the least. I have so many of her books I need to read right now adn I think it's called Seaside?? Anyways its a trilogy and its pretty good.
    Happy reading

    1. I've heard her other books are great! So I'm definitely not judging by this particular one. I'm glad you're enjoying it!

  2. Oooo I think I would freak out reading this lol. That's so despicable! I'm seething reading your review! Especially the morning after stuff. How horrible! And I'm sure it goes on in real life which makes it even worse!! Fabulous review love! I haven't read any of Rachel's books before, I'll be staying away from this one but have heard good things about Ruin so think ill purchase that instead! :-)

    1. Yes! I've heard great things about Rachel's other books, but I felt like she went in a direction I just personally couldn't get over. Yeah, I think you'd freak reading this too! You were the first person I thought of while reading this going, OMG, she would flip out!

  3. I don't like books with unbeliavble plots and it sounds like this is one of those.
    Great review :) thanks for sharing why you didn't enjoy this one.

    1. Thanks Ruty! Yeah, this was just not for me. I could handle the unbelievable plot, but not the characterization.

  4. It does seem like an interesting story. Yours is not the first review to point out how awful these characters are. So I totally believe you. I've heard the second book is much better

    1. Oh that's good! I haven't heard much about the second one. I wish I could have liked it more, but I just don't see how someone could fall in love with someone who was so awful to them. It doesn't add up for me. Oh, well!

  5. Hmm... I have this from NetGalley but after this review, I'm not sure how I feel about reading it. It sounds like a very frustrating book and how can the biggest asshole be the love interest? I don't like that at all!

    1. Yeah, me either girl! I had the biggest problem trying to reconcile that! I was like, UHHHHH. How does someone do a complete 180 in such a short amount of time? NOPE. LOL.


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