The Young Elites by Marie Lu
Synopsis (from Amazon):
"I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.
Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.
Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.
Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.
Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.
It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt."
Why We'd Recommend It: Marie Lu writes so powerfully, beautifully, and emotionally that this book is hard to resist. It's an inventive, dystopian, slightly romantic, dark story about a budding villain, a perspective I've yet to see. The world Adelina, the main character, lives in reminds me a little bit of the setting of Divergent, but with more depth and creativity, along with more fantastical details. One of my teachers once said, "I think a book is either a 'description book' or a 'character book,' in which the author focuses more on one or the other." In that case, the Young Elites would definitely be a "character book," because it focuses on the theory that someone is inwardly good or inwardly evil - and if they can do anything to tip the balance in either direction. In fact, it's a bit similar to the School for Good and Evil, but, if possible, even darker and more terrifyingly realistic. There is a touch of romance too - more than in the Lunar Chronicles or Divergent, but it doesn't ever go too far. There's never a sleepy moment, and I was constantly on the edge of my seat. The Young Elites is definitely one of my - and my brother's - favorite books we've ever read.