the young elites

Title: The Young Elites
Author: Marie Lu (Texas Teen Book Festival Author!)
Release Date: 10/07/2014

Reviewed by: Emily

The Young Elites is a dark take on traditional fantasy elements.

Adelina was abused by her father because she was a malfetto but not a Young Elite. He tried to sell her off because she was marked and lacked powers. The Daggers didn’t trust her and some thought she should be killed because her powers were too strong. These reactions hurt her, but instead of laying down, she gets angry. Intense emotion in women is often seen as a bad thing in our society (e.g. an angry woman is a “bitch”, a crying woman is weak and useless, etc.) but Adelina’s strong emotions give her strength. She learns how to better control her powers, though she’s still not perfect at it. As her character develops, her powers become stronger while her emotional wounds fester and she becomes intent on vengence. I can’t wait to read if she continues following this path in the sequel.
I loved the world-building and how Lu used the hatred of malfettos/Young Elites as a metaphor for the oppression of minority groups in our society and still prominently featured characters who belong to actual oppressed groups from our society. In the same vein, Teren’s internalized bigotry against malfettos (Teren himself is a malfetto) really resonated with me and my experience with hating myself for who I am. While reading the book I was so angry with him because he was hurting people, but by the end of the book my heart was breaking for him. While his crimes can’t be washed away, readers can recognize that he experienced horrible internal torture and self-hatred.
The last four or so pages focused on a different set of characters in another kingdom, and even in that small space Lu showed enough about their culture and traditions to make me want to read a whole book just about life in that kingdom.
I went into this novel with high expectations, and I certainly wasn’t disappointed. Marie Lu continues to be an amazingly talented author, and I’m really excited to read the next book in this series!

Marie Lu is set to appear

at the Texas Teen Book Festival on October 18th!

Check out the full TTBF14 line up here.


The 2014 Texas Teen Book Festival will take place on Saturday, October 18 8:30am – 5:30pm at St. Edward’s University. The day-long event is totally FREE and open to the public. 29 authors will appear on a series of panels, in special talks and even in a crazy live game show! The BookPeople Teen Press Corps will bring you live coverage of the day’s events over on the TTBF website. BookPeople is proud to be the co-founder, official bookseller and program director for the Festival. BookPeople is pleased to work in partnership with the Texas Teen Book Festival, the Texas Book Festival, St. Edward’s University and the Austin Public Library Friends Foundation to bring this totally awesome, totally free event to Austin’s readers.

Follow the Texas Teen Book Festival online: 

Twitter: @TXTeenBookFest
Instagram: @TXTeenBookFest