*I received a free copy of Select from Charlesbridge Teen via Netgalley. This has in no way influenced my voluntary review, which is honest and unbiased *Select by Marit Weisenberg
Series: Select #1
Published by Charlesbridge Teen on 3 October 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Coming from a race of highly-evolved humans, Julia Jaynes has the perfect life. The perfect family. The perfect destiny. But there’s something rotten beneath the surface—dangerous secrets her father is keeping; abilities she was never meant to have; and an elite society of people determined to keep their talents hidden and who care nothing for the rest of humanity. So when Julia accidentally disrupts the Jaynes’ delicate anonymity, she’s banished to the one place meant to make her feel inferior: public high school.
Julia’s goal is to lay low and blend in. Then she meets him—John Ford, tennis prodigy, all-around good guy. When Julia discovers a knack for reading his mind, and also manipulating his life, school suddenly becomes a temporary escape from the cold grip of her manipulative father. But as Julia’s powers over John grow, so do her feelings. For the first time in her life, Julia begins to develop a sense of self, to question her restrictive upbringing and her family prejudices. She must decide: can a perfect love be worth more than a perfect life?
Select is an original story about a people that is more evolved than the rest of us. It involves how difficult it can be to fit in, and how not to make the general population know too much.
Julia and her family, and the other Select are hiding in plain sight. But they know they don’t have long before they have to move once more. In the past, this people was in hiding as tribes in the Amazon jungle, or far away from civilization. Now, they live in the city, but in the best part of it. Only, Julia’s father, their leader, has started to make some changes. These changes involves Julia and other youths not having the right to use their abilities. Julia even has to change schools so she won’t interact too much with the others.
There is quite a bit of mystery surrounding these Select, and Julia feels like her father is very unfair to her. Little by little, she unravels the secrets of her past, while also making new friends at her school. One of her difficulties is in not being too good. Because she has photographic memory, is very strong in all subjects, and still has to stay off the radar.
As things come to light, the Select have to move, only Julia isn’t sure she trusts her father or the other elders anymore, and this brought about an about-face I didn’t see coming. The story was very slow for the first 40%, but once it picked up the pace, I was completely involved in the story, and the ending made me long for the next book.
Julia is both smart and strong, but she feels completely out of place both in her own family and with the other Select.
John is a great teen who has been through some rough times. Getting to know Julia only makes things more difficult for him.
Julia’s father grated on my nerves, he was not the best leader, and he kept some things hidden even from his own.
Angus was one of the other teens who had been excluded from using his abilities, and he did not take this well. So much so that something big happened, and he and his family were excluded.
Writing style :
First person point of view from Julia’s perspective, and in past tense, Select also includes a lot of dialogues to let the readers get to know the other characters. The pace was very slow at first, which could have been a conscious choice by the author to ease her readers into the story and get the background on these evolved beings.
I was a bit frustrated in the beginning, because there wasn’t that much happening to keep me interested. Once things sped up, though, I felt both excitement and anger – both because I didn’t think Julia was treated fairly. And this was something I think was proven once I got to the end.
I glanced up at the mirror. My heavy mascara was smeared, and my bottle-black hair was a rat’s nest. I looked the opposite of my sister – night to her day. But I enjoyed ow tough I looked. It hid how not-tough I was inside.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: