ARC Review: Select

31180282Rating: Fire star-1991908_1920star-1991908_1920star-1991908_1920star-1991908_1920

This book was an ARC given to be my NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Expected Publication: October 3, 2017

After a ton of meh ARC books, I was completely blown away by this book. The whole concept of an advanced species was simple enough to be tackled in one book, yet complex enough to provide many subsequent issues and lead into a series. Because yes, THIS BOOK IS ACTUALLY A SERIES and when I found out I screamed a little. After I finished it I was actually speechless, and needed to cool down before writing my reactions down because MY THOUGHTS WERE ACTUALLY ALL OVER THE PLACE like this book really got me thinking???? And so so invested I blew through it in one day and I couldn’t stop thinking about the characters.

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“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?”

So, um, this synopsis makes the book sound super cheesy? But it wasn’t? And I hate that the synopsis also makes it sound like it’s all about her romance with John, like that was a big part of it, but most of it is about the species and how they came to be and the ~fishiness~ of the whole thing and who Julia is and who she wants to be. 

But I loved the plot. Sure I had my ~issues~ with it (stay tuned for my mini rants) but the overall idea of it was so clever and well done. The pacing was good, maybe a bit slow in the beginning, but by the end it was so fast I actually couldn’t keep up. It’s contemporary-esque in that it is primarily character driven, an interesting concept for a SFF book*. Not to say it doesn’t have a plot, but the majority of the plot is how Julia reacts to all the secrets around her and her surroundings and the characters play such a major role.

*maybe why I liked it so much hahahahah

The overall theme of this book is very powerful as well and I think creatively done. It’s about outsiders and changing of perspectives, but demonstrated between different species. And by species, I don’t mean like an elephant and a human. Both are humans, but one species is more…advanced? Technically I guess they aren’t different species, per se*, but definitely different groups. It was like a way to represent problems in current society but in an urban fantasy type of way.

*That’s my Environmental Science knowledge coming at ya…thanks APES

But now my problems with the plot (that you should know mostly come from my pure love of the characters). The reason Julia gets sent to public school. A COMPLETE JOKE. I was FUMING as I read it like did someone say overreaction???? Also I can’t really SAY anything about the ending but like *insert me screaming*. I honestly couldn’t tell you if it’s in happiness or frustration but let’s just say I had some mixed emotions. 

And the science behind their whole new species is a bit sketch. Definitely could be explained more, especially right off the bat. Although I guess that was intentional, to make us feel confused just like the children were? But it could definitely turn some people off who just feel very lost during the whole book. Just embrace this lostness. It adds to the book in the end. And I promise, there is some explanation (although I hope there’s more in the second book).

(Just a side note I was totally reminded of right now. This whole book gives off some Peter Pan vibes and if I had to choose a song that described it it would definitely be Lost Boy by Ruth B.)

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Ahhhh so now I get to talk about my sweet precious cinnamon rolls. If someone loves morally grey characters then Julia is for you. She’s not like Kaz Brekker level but I didn’t actually like him but she definitely does some questionable things and some downright wrong things. But then she also comes around with her super loyal and sweet side and her good heart and basically makes you forget about some of the awful stuff she does. Her character growth is downright sO GOOD like she goes from being so insecure to believing in herself and to accepting those around her as special too and I just. I LOVE WHEN PEOPLE BECOME CONFIDENT like I’m sorry I’ll leave now. Julia is so strong and so capable even when she was basically ostracized for a stupid reason she stayed strong she did her own thing like how do you continue to do that when you aren’t allowed to see anyone you love??? I don’t think I could make it. But she really chose her own destiny and it was very #inspiring. 

I really oscillated between loving Liv and hating Liv, but I think I ended on loving her. I can’t say a ton about her without spoiling, but she is Julia’s younger sister so there are some classic sister tensions in there. Ultimately I think I pity her?? But I also admire her in a way. 

ANGUS IS MY FOR REAL PRECIOUS CINNAMON ROLL. I absolutely adore he and Julia’s friendship like such goals. He may seem super cocky and rude in the beginning but I promise you he fully redeems himself and I. Just. Sob. when I think about him and what he has to face now. He legitimately breaks my heart.

We get to know John pretty well because even though it’s told entirely from Julia’s POV, she can read John’s thoughts (sometimes). I admire how much he values honesty, but also how well he keeps secrets even though I guess that can be seen as dishonest? He is kind down to the bone and honestly didn’t deserve everything that happened to him.

Novak. Again I can’t say much because spoilers but let’s just *insert screaming here* and leave it at that.

(Get in contact with me SOMEHOW if you’ve read this book and want to discuss him though).

And I just love all the Lost Boys. I hope they’re okay.

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So the effort that took to keep this review from spoiling was IMMENSE. I didn’t realize how many of my reactions revolved around spoilers. Which I guess means this book is pretty twisty. So I feel like my review doesn’t completely do this book justice but to sum it up: you will experience all emotions. You’ll probably be mad at some part. You’ll fall in love with *most* of the characters. You will definitely have thoughts about the ending. It doesn’t have the best Goodreads ratings but like 1.) there’s about two reviews and 2.) idk I liked it and wanted to share.

Have you read this book? How do you deal with reviews where all you want to do is spoil the heck out of the book to truly talk about it? 

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