Whitfield Preparatory Academy ought to be the perfect school…
Not only does the Academy boast a distinguished faculty and lavish campus, it is also home to the privileged youth of the upper class. They will one day hold the reins of power in the business world and political arena – but for now, they exercise absolute authority at the Academy.
For seventeen-year-old Ella Parker, acceptance into the prestigious Academy is a dream come true. But her delight quickly turns to dread when she finds herself in the crosshairs of an elite group of ruthless students dubbed “the Crowd.” Ella’s been at the center of unwanted attention before – but never like this – and she’ll do anything to make them stop. Anything, that is, apart from accepting the advances of popular and wealthy playboy Jackson Montgomery, the leader of the Crowd.
Will Ella be humiliated, or triumph over her tormentors?
An irresistible story of faith, friendship, betrayal, and romance, The Crowd will immerse readers in Ella’s tumultuous struggle from the very first page.
SERIES: The Crowd #1
GENRE: Clean Teen, Young Adult Fiction
RELEASE DATE: January 10, 2016
The Crowd by Alleece Balts is a fairly quick read that engages all of your emotions by the time you’re finished. Just because it’s quick, don’t assume that it lacks substance or grit. A lot of tough – and important – topics covered in this story. But the author’s wit, her smooth writing style, and a sweet romance plot keep it light when appropriate and provide levity amid any lingering heaviness.
Ella is at once a sympathetic character and a strong character. At times over the course of the novel she’s more of one than the other, and at other times she’s a pretty even mix of both. Jack and Lucas are each a bit of an enigma in their own right, and for the majority of the novel I couldn’t decide which (if either… or maybe both) was being sincere with Ella. Jack’s Southern accent did get a bit cliche and seemed too “country” for a rich kid, Southern or not. (If only used occasionally, his colloquialisms and omitting the “g” from the ends of words and “reckon” and “Miss Eleanor” would have been charming. Their sheer frequency, however, felt unnatural.) He makes up for it though by genuinely being a likable guy, and I kept hoping against hope that his friendship with Ella would prove true. (Spoiler? Misdirection? You’ll just have to read it for yourself and find out, won’t you? Bwhahahaha!)
Bottom Line: In Alleece Balts’ debut novel, the topic of bullying is handled honestly and realistically, but it’s not left to be just another story about teen angst. It’s one of those books that takes you by surprise more than once. Redemption hovers in the wings of The Crowd, as well as a reminder that the power of peer pressure works in both directions. I think this would be a great book for teen and young adult readers to choose for book clubs as many scenes and characters provide excellent topics for discussions! The romance is sweet and will bring a grin to your face more than once. The setup for the second book in the series has me anxiously waiting for updates on its release! Must. Find. Out. What. Happens.
(I received a copy of this book in exchange for only my honest review.)
My Rating: 4 stars / Enjoyed it!
KissingBook Level: 3 / May forget to breathe on occasion
Alleece Balts is an American YA fiction writer best known for her debut novel, The Crowd, the first in a trilogy she is currently penning. When she’s not writing, you can find her studying the Bible, reading a novel with a strong heroine, or drinking (another) chai tea.
Alleece lives in Minneapolis with her cheesehead husband, three sticky children, a spoiled cat, and a shamelessly flatulent dog.
Alleece is offering a copy of The Crowd to one of my readers! Enter at the Rafflecopter link below!
(Once giveaway has ended, winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter and notified by email.)
What about you? What kind of high school did you attend? Large? Small? Private? Public? Lots of cliques?