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Alphas (Alphas #1), by Lisi Harrison
First, a Little Background:
When I found the first book of the "Alphas" series in the bargain books bin at the Walmart where I work, I put it back and kept walking. I definitely didn't need another teen series to read. I was tempted, though, since "The Alphas" is by Lisi Harrison, the same woman who wrote the original "Monster High" series, which I enjoyed reading.
And then I didn't see the book for a while and battled feelings of both relief (that I wouldn't be starting a new series) and disappointment (that I wouldn't be starting a new series). Late one night I was in the store (my store is open 24 hours a day) and saw it again. So I figured it was fate. Or something very like it.
And Now, the Review:
The premise of "The Alphas" is fascinating. One hundred of the best and brightest teenaged girls from all over the world are gathered together at a special boarding school designed to make them the best they can be. Once they get there, though, they discover there is a catch -- it is a zero-sum game. One by one, ninety-nine of these girls will be sent home until only one remains. The founder of the school, Shira Brazille, will give financial backing to the career of the winner.
Central to our tale are three young women:
Allie A. Abbott gets her invitation to the school by accident. The actual applicant is Allie J. Abbott, a famous singer/songwriter/environmental activist. Allie A. has had her heart broken recently. So she decides that she needs a change of pace and she ends up masquerading as Allie J.
Charlie Deery is the daughter of Shira's right-hand woman. She is also the girlfriend of one of Shira's sons. When there is a last-minute opening, Shira offers the opening to Charlie, on the condition that Charlie will break up with her son and that Charlie's mother will leave. Unbeknownst to Shira, Charlie designed many of the features of the manufactured island where the school is located.
Skye Hamilton is one of the most famous young dancers of her generation. She heads up a dance troupe and also is pretty well-known for getting her way with the opposite sex.
Since the book would go nowhere fast if our three protagonists were simply classmates who spent no additional time together, Allie, Charlie, and Skye end up rooming together, along with a famous soap opera actress and an actress/model/dancer, Andrea, who prefers to be known as "Triple."
I read this entire book in almost one sitting. It is fast-paced and you really feel for these three young women as they begin to find their way in the new world in which they have found themselves. I am sure that the Alpha Academy is some kind of metaphor for growing up, but even at face value, "The Alphas" is a terrific book.