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In general, I don’t approve of calling books “guilty pleasures.” I feel like we should all read what we like and not judge ourselves or each other for enjoying things that some might consider embarrassing. So what if I’m a 25 year old woman who enjoys reading books about teenage girls finding their princes? So sue me. But this book, oh goodness. This book might just be a guilty pleasure. This book is the novel equivalent of reality television. It is the novel equivalent of The Bachelor, which I have never watched a single episode of in my entire life, because really? A bunch of women competing over the love of one sleazy guy who, in this one very particular situation, has society’s approval to date mass quantities of women at the same time? Ew. It’s gross. The premise of this book is, in fact, gross. But I liked it. Ugh. I liked it.

I don’t even know why I liked it. In fact, I hated pretty much everything about it.

The names. Oh, dear lord, the names. Why is she called America Singer? She’s a singer. A singer with the last name Singer. It’s comically bad.

The relationships. I mean, come on. Her relationship with Aspen is not at all sexy. It’s not at all romantic, or endearing, or anything short of sad. Aspen is a jerk, a jerk who is happy to take advantage of America’s kindness and then just as quick to turn around and berate her for having the audacity to be good to him.

The worldbuilding. Oh wait, what worldbuilding? This is supposedly a future version of America, in which China invaded because America wouldn’t pay them back, and then Russia invaded, and then some random guy donated a bunch of money and saved the country and renamed it after himself. Illea. Now it’s Illea. And Illea inexplicably has an obscene amount of numbered castes with very specific professions assigned to them. America’s family is evidently near the bottom, but she stills owns a few fancy dresses, has plenty of makeup, and has food to spare.

Honestly, I could go on with what I hated about this book, but I won’t. Because I actually enjoyed it, despite my misgivings.

The main thing to understand about this book is that it’s entertaining. I wanted to keep reading. Even when I wanted to throw the book out the window because one of the male characters said something gross, I wanted to keep reading. Even though I knew that obviously this is a series and obviously America is going to make it through each round of elimination, I wanted to keep reading. If this book is anything, it’s readable. It’s fluff, but it’s readable fluff.

I don’t feel an intense need to pick up The Elite, but I will probably pick it up at some point. 

Final rating: ★★★☆☆

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