The Elite

 
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4.2 (10)
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Age Range
14+

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The Elite
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Erica

The Elite
Jennifer Banash
Release Date: June 3, 2008
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Pages: 256

Rating: 4.5 stars

From the top, you can see everything - except yourself.

When Casey McCloy steps into the elegant Bramford building, she's overwhelmed. Fresh from the Midwest, shes moved to New York's Upper East Side to live with her grandmother and attend the prestigious Meadowlark Academy. Here all that matters is who you know. The girl to know is Madison Macallister: popular, pretty, 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 timed whisper. Better to be on her good side.

But after a city-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 who Madison thinks belongs to her and her alone.


I really enjoyed reading The Elite. It was a lighter read full of drama from the top of the social ladder Upper East Side teen girls. The drama wasn't the over the top and exagerated drama that you see so much of these days, which was certainly entertaining. I loved the alternating chapters between the 5 main characters, reading the story from all the different characters added so much depth and you get to hear their side. Jennifer Banash's writing style really draws readers in as well. I found myself having a hard time putting this one down!
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Fun and Easy
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Max

Casey McCloy moves to Manhattan and befriends a group of popular girls at her school. They give her a makeover and she goes around with them. Madison, the leader of the popular group, is semi-dating Drew. When Casey finds herself crushing on Drew, tensions build and everyone decides what they value most in friendship and in any relationship.




The Elite was light and enjoyable. Casey is an easy character to relate to, and everyone else is easily identifiable. Drew was probably my favorite character. He seemed most real to me, and he also seemed most likable. My only knock is that the characters seemed flat and stereotypical, but it was still fun to read, and I would recommend it.



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Gossip Girl
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by stephanie

This is like Gossip Girl, but better. Way better. There's none of that "you know you love me. Gossip Girl" thing at all. Which was excellent because that line was really annoying after a while. Anyway, I really liked this book. But I really hate Drew. He's extremely wishy-washy. He doesn't know what he really wants so he keeps changing his mind. One minute, he's in love with Madison and tries to get her jealous. The next, he falls in love with Casey because she's not Madison. I mean, come on, really? Drew was the only person I really disliked. All the other characters were awesome though. Madison seemed like the classy bitch while Casey was the innocent new transfer student. The plot...basically the same as Gossip Girl but better. And...this series is definitely worth your time especially if you like (or kind of like) Gossip Girl.
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The Elite
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Megan

When Casey McCloy steps into the elegant Bramford building, she's overwhelmed. Fresh from the Midwest, she's moved to New York's Upper East Side to live with her grandmother and attend the prestigious Meadowlark Academy. Here all that matters is who you know. The girl to know is Madison Macallister: popular, pretty, platinumblond. 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 welltimed whisper. Better to be on her good side.But after a city-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 who Madison thinks belongs to her and her alone.

I thought this book was okay. I am not a huge fan of switching narrators every chapter. I also thought the was wasn't very realistic. How many people really move into a apartment with Grandma and become friends with three popular girls and steal the head girls boyfriend in the first day you move to New York. And a sweet place. But I did like the problems that you read about. I also thought some of the characters were relatable and easy to read. The book was also predictable.
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the rich and the powerful.. and the pure?
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by c-alexis

I actually started the book when I was in New York on vacation, so I guess that was kind of cool that I would be reading about Casey's Central Park adventure, when I was there just a minute ago. As for the book itself, I liked the idea of the outsider trying to fit in. I thought that the words and selfish behaviours of some of the characters seemed so real. I loved the change of perspectives between the characters and you see how things really are despite the way they seem. The only character you could actually relate to (if you lead one of these glamorous lives) is Casey. The outsider who wants to fit in, gets sidetracked by bad advice from a frenemy, and eventually gets the guy because of who she really is. As I was reading this though, I did feel like it seemed a lot like Gossip Girl. Blaire as Madison, Serena as maybe Casey without the fashion problems, and all the hot guys on the show blended into the character of Drew. Anyways, it was a pretty good book for those who love the seduction of New York and all its glamour.

Reprinted here with author's permission.
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Amazing Debut for Jennifer Banash
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Bookluver-Carol

Its the most exclusive luxury apartment building on New Yorks Upper East Side. If you dont live thereyou dont know how to live&

When Casey McCloy steps into The Bramford, shes overwhelmed by the sophistication and elegance of it all. Fresh from the Midwest, shes moved to NYC 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, platinum-blond. Shes not just Caseys new classmate and neighbor; shes 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-timed whisper. Better to be on her good side.

But after a city-haute makeover from her new frenemy Madison, Casey is wearing the right clothes, saying the right things, and meeting the right peopleincluding Drew, the boy-about-town who Madison thinks belongs to her and her alone&

This book was amazing! Both the main and secondary characters we beautifully written and had a lot of depth that you really connect to them. I found myself liking all the characters and wanting to know more about them. The plot was great. I think that this new series is was much better than the Gossip Girl series. The characters weren't shallow and they seemed real.I couldn't put this book down.I can't wait for In Too Deep to come out! Jennifer Banash is an amazing author.
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A Fresh Take on the Gossip Girl-esque Novels
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by ambeen

I was expecting to really enjoy this novel because I've heard it is different from the Gossip Girl type novels. While I did enjoy the novel, it wasn't until the last quarter of the novel that I really got into it, sitting up to pay close attention.


The first half of The Elite is slow going with characters being the main focus. I am definitely a character person but the characters weren't moving things forward enough to be considered amazing. In fact, I was bored with the two main characters, Casey and Madison. I wasn't connecting with them at all.



Even though I wasn't really connecting with Casey or Madison, I loved Sophie and Phoebe. I thought they were really compelling characters. I would read whole books about each of them. I hope they get more focus in future books, because for secondary characters, they really stood out and stole the show for me.


Luckily, the last quarter of the book showed me just what Jennifer Banash is capable of and what I hope to see from her in future books. I finally connected with both Casey and Madison. It seemed that it was then their characters really had the chance to shine. I also felt the story moved along at a nice pace as well. I look forward to reading more about this rich (not in the monetary sense of the word either--although they are that, too :-P ) cast of characters in future novels from this series!
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Big city adventure & drama!
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Dominique

Casey McCloy jumped at the chance to see the Big Apple when her mother announced that she was going overseas to do some research for her book. The next thing Casey knows, she is moving in with her grandmother into the luxurious Bramford apartments of Manhatten’s Upper East Side. But can a girl from an all but unheard of town in Illinois fit into the big city and the prestigious Meadowlark Academy, where fashion divas and trendsetters like Madison Macallister rule the scene? I mean, when she first set foot in the Bram and bumped into Madison and her posse, she was instantly labeled a walking fashion violation—apparently Abercrombie isn’t high enough on the fashion food chain to warrant anything but distain from It Girl Madison! So does Casey stand a chance in Meadowlark and NYC?

Although Madison and her ladies seem imposing in their high fashion and expensive heels, Casey thinks she stands a chance to befriend the queen of style and sets out to do just that. Casey is taken out to do some shopping for a make over, but the sky high prices on all the designer brands that are a must for the stars of Meadowlark are completely out of Casey’s range! Luckily, with some unexpectedly generous assistance from Madison, Casey is now ready for her first day at the elite academy! But will a new outfit completely prepare Casey for what she’s about to face? And what is she to do with the hottie, Drew, also known as Madison’s on and off boyfriend, who keeps catching her eye?

Who can Casey trust? Can she really fit into this high-priced society? Can Casey keep up with Madison and her girls, or are they out of her league and only letting her in out of pity?

The Elite is a great start to a new series by Jennifer Banash! It was a bit heavy on the fashion brands and the language is a bit strong (but that’s how it is for many teens nowadays in the US) but the characters all had some very interesting stories to tell. I loved how the point of view switched between the characters so that we could get a bigger picture of their lives. Most of them deal with issues that plenty of teens have and it was nice to get to know more about the others, besides Casey—it definitely helped develop the characters more, and readers will find it easier to understand these dynamic teens! They all had realistic, believable feelings and actions that were wonderfully expressed throughout the novel! It was also great to see down-to-earth Casey shine and show that you don’t need to be rolling in gold to be happy with yourself. There’s more to even the rich and popular kids than all that glitz and glamour they live with! And it would seem that Casey has it easy with just her frizzy-hair problems, after seeing what some of those oh-so-perfect teens have to deal with, behind their sophisticated and happy façade…wealth may not necessarily guarantee happiness…
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A way better version of Gossip Girl!
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Tasha

As soon as Casey McCloy steps into the luxurious Bramford apartment building she knows that she has entered another world. Everything seems so much more elegant and sophisticated then even the nice places in her hometown of Normal, Illinois. Casey has moved to Upper-East Side Manhattan to stay with her grandmother while her feministic mother travels to England to do research for her up and coming book. Before Casey even steps foot in her grandmother's apartment she is greeted by Madison MacAllister, the ultimate It Girl, and her possey. Even though the girls seem intimidating, Casey thinks that maybe, possibly they could be her friends. They even invite her to the park with them after she has settled in. When Casey finally makes it to the park she is thoroughly introduced to Madison's sidekicks, Sophie and Phoebe, who seem to be a lot nicer than Madison. Casey is also introduced to Drew, who just happens to have something going on with the Queen bee herself, but definitely has eyes for Casey! During the last few weeks of summer vacation Casey finds herself hanging out with Madison, Phoebe, and Sofie quite a bit. They even give her some fashion advice for her first day of school outfit. Casey's stoked that she has found some friends, but when Casey starts talking with Drew jealousy overcomes Madison and things aren't as bright for Casey anymore. Madison is determined to get Drew back, and she always gets what she wants. Will Casey's sweet demeanor trump Madison's nasty attitutude?


This book was awesome. I couldn't put it down. Originally I was a little skeptical because the book sounded a lot like the Gossip Girl books which I don't really care for, but I made the completely wrong assumption. While there is drama in this book it doesn't overpower the story, it actually makes the book even more devourable. The characters are extremely real and in most cases likeable. Yes, the girls were rich, but money wasn't the main focal point of the story. Actually, I liked how Casey was able to lead a very interesting life without all the glitz and glamor that money provides. I also liked how two of the supporting characters, Sophie and Phoebe, got their chance to shine too. I haven't read many books where this happens and I really liked how the reader got to take a little break from the main character(s) to see what else was going on in the story. Another great thing about this book is the humor. I found myself laughing out loud a lot and just smiling at what Sophie would say, or how Casey would act. This was a great first novel from Jennifer Banash and I desperately wish that the sequel, In Too Deep, was already on my bookshelf but I guess I'll have to wait until October...! In the meantime, The Elite comes out on June 3 -- I highly suggest that you all pre-order it as it was such a good book.
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Better than Gossip Girl
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by the book muncher

Casey McCloy is the new girl in town, New York City that is. From the first moment she steps into her new home, the Bramford, she realizes how out of place she is. So when she finds out that the girl to know is Madison Macallister, she tries to become friends with her. But being recently transplanted from Normal, Illinois to the Big Apple isnt helping her at all, and neither are her frizzy hair and not-expensive-enough wardrobe.

Madison, the it girl who gets anything and everything she wants, in a rare act of kindness, helps Casey out a bit. Madisons two closest friends, Sophie and Phoebe, are slightly more welcoming. But theyve all got problems of their own. Sophie has always felt like an outsider ever since she skipped a grade, and because she looks nothing like the rest of her family. Phoebe yearns for her mother to stop being so jealous of Phoebes beauty. And Madisons got problems too when her ex Drew shows interest in newcomer Casey.

At first glance, The Elite seems like another Gossip Girl book, but as the story progressed, it turned into so much more. The Elite is told from alternating points-of-view of the different characters, and that helps provide much insight into their lives. I enjoyed how Jennifer Banash developed all five main characters instead of just focusing on one. What I appreciated the most was how the characters seemed real. Instead of being just stereotyped and/or ruthless, these girls and guy each had a conscience and feelings I could relate to (most of the time). Many times, I felt sympathy for the characters, but at the same time, I didnt because I felt kind of removed from them which is probably because most of us dont experience the lavish life of the wealthy and beautiful as these characters do.

The Elite is definitely a step up from the Gossip Girl series. I recommend it is you liked the It Girl series by Cecily con Ziegesar, the A-List series by Zoey Dean, and also the Fast Girls, Hot Boys series by Kylie Adams. Be prepared for a slightly more meaningful story than the ones presented in the series mentioned above though. Jennifer Banashs novel was certainly a worthwhile read, and I look forward to the continuation of The Elite series.

reposted from http://thebookmuncher.blogspot.com/
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