the blog of a librarian, book reviewer, and pop culture fiend
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
If you don't read this, you're not an Alpha
If I love books with pink covers, and I love books with sparkly covers, what could I do with a book with a pink sparkly cover but love it?
I picked up a copy of Alphas, the first book in the Alphas series (coming in October, 2009) by Lisi Harrison, best known for penning the Clique series. Over the weekend, I was fretting about my Columbia homework, so I picked it up as a diversion, figuring it'd be fun and fluffy. I got some fluff, sure, but I also got what I'm sure to be the next big thing in YA: Science fiction meets chick lit.
And it was a hell of a good time.
The premise of Alphas: Many will apply, few will be accepted. Eccentric entertainment mogul Shira Brazille has opened Alphas Academy, located somewhere amid a tropical paradise. Alphas Academy serves to train the brightest and most beautiful of the generation with classes tailored to each girl's talent. Enter Skye, a dancer, Allie, a singer/poet/eco-aware vegan, and Charlie, an inventor and engineer. The three of them are part of the Jackie O house, where they live with Thalia, their muse, and sneak out at night to try to meet the only boys living on Alpha Island.
It looks like heaven, but it's kind of like the Hunger Games. Of one hundred girls, one will be left standing, and there are some nasty twists. Of Skye, Allie, and Charlie, one is a spy, one is facing being kicked out of Alphas Academy, and one is a complete faker attending Alphas Academy because they think she's someone else.
Readers will love this book because it's a genre mashup. Since it's a Clique spinoff, there are some brand names mentioned, but a lot of it disappears at Alphas Academy and is replaced with its own Academy brands. There's a terrifying theme of control. The girls are competitive and can be catty, but they also unite for a common cause. Smarts and talent are celebrated at Alphas Academy, but the very nature of the institution divides its students. It also comes complete with a cliffhanger ending. I should also mention that you need not have any familiarity with the Clique series in order to read Alphas. There are a few Clique references at the beginning, but it's easy to get into the story even if you don't understand them.