Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Review of Elite by Rachel VanDyken

For Tracey Rooks, life with her grandparents on a Wyoming farm has always been simple. But after her grandmother's death, Tracey is all her grandfather has. So when Eagle Elite University announces its annual scholarship lottery, Tracey jumps at the opportunity to secure their future and enters. She isn't expecting much-but then she wins. And life as she knows it will never be same . . .

The students at Eagle Elite are unlike any she's ever met . . . and they refuse to make things easy for her. There's Nixon, gorgeous, irresistible, and leader of a group that everyone fears: The Elect. Their rules are simple. 1. Do not touch The Elect. 2. Do not look at The Elect. 3. Do not speak to The Elect. No matter how hard she tries to stay away, The Elect are always around her and it isn't long until she finds out the reason why they keep their friends close and their enemies even closer. She just didn't realize she was the enemy -- until it was too late. 

Jewelz' Review:
Following her grandmother's passing, Trace has been accepted to attend Eagle Elite, an exclusive college in Chicago. She was raised by her grandparents on a ranch and has never known the big city or this elite-type of environment. The welcome committee doesn't do much to make her feel welcome. Nixon and the "elite" basically run the school and control everything she has access to - including where she has lunch. Trace pretty much hates Nixon, but can't help being attracted to him. And she kind of has to play along if she wants to survive at the school.

Thus the scene is set for a rollercoaster of a ride as Trace tries to not only survive her first year at a new school, but to solve the mystery of who Nixon really is and how he's able to wield so much power at a school he attends.

Trace is a very 3-dimensional character who is more of a mystery than I realized at first. She was somewhat shy and uncertain when she first arrived at Eagle Elite, and understandably so. However, she was strong-willed enough to cope with stressful situations with humor, only allowing herself to break down in private. She's very self-effacing. Is she perfect? No, of course she isn't – but that's not reality and character flaws allow the reader to identity with her.

Nixon is a jerk – plain and simple. The thing is, he's one of those guys your parents warn you about. What is it about these "bullies" that attracts women? Fortunately, there's a lot more to Nixon than we think. He's a "typical" guy who goes about things in all the wrong ways and that's why he comes off as such a bully. However, when the reader learns Nixon's secrets you can't help but fall in love with him too. Sure I still wanted to punch him in the face for some of the things he did, but at least he had good intentions – and right or wrong, that's why he gets away with so much crap (oh that and his little secret).

This is definitely one of my favorite RVD books. What can I say, Elite has a little bit of everything in it: romance, mystery & drama; guns, knives & brass knuckles; hot guys & beautiful girls... oh and cows! I sat down and read it straight through - I just couldn't put it down. The first thing I did when I finished was to call my sister and tell her "You have to read this book! You will LOVE it!" and of course she read it, and she loved it too.

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