Wicked Half-Sister Isabella Unleashes A Secret That Tears The Untouchables Apart!
Commenté aux États-Unis 🇺🇸 le 16 octobre 2020
Brooklyn Gets A Twisted Cinderella Story As She Struggles To Sort Out Her Feelings For Matthew, Felix, And Miller In This Bully Story.
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Empire High Elite is the second book in the Empire High series. This book picks up right where the cliffhanger in book one of the series left off. It is not a standalone. Fans might recognize familiar characters that intersect various other series. A glimpse of a teenage James Hunter from The Hunted series shows his dark early days. From the Men of Manhattan series, playboy Mason from City of Sin appears, as does jokester Rob Hunter in Third Chances. New characters are introduced as well – watch for future spin-offs.
A note to those that have not yet read the aforementioned books: reading them prior to completing the Empire Elite series might leave readers a little frustrated. This series takes place while those leads are in their youth, and those books follow chronologically. If you have no problems with spoilers then by all means indulge in any order.
From Empire High Untouchables, book one of the series:
Empire High is the best private high school in New York City and an institution dominated by the elite. Even within its privilaged walls, cliques are alive and well. At the top of the chain is the old money crowd, most of which have legacy preference. Students from new money rank next, their longevity amongst the elite not yet proven. These students may feel like they aren’t fully accepted, but the difference is negligible in comparison to the next group on the list. Scholarship kids face unique obstacles and challenges. Those students are invisible. Money talks, even when it comes to the faculty. Finally, a very small number of students qualify as the bottom feeders. As the family of employees, they qualify for legacy preference. Scholarship students get in based upon achievement, so they outrank these lowly students.
There is one group, however, that stands above them all: the Untouchables. The Hunter and Caldwell brothers exude wealth. Old money. James, Robert, Mason, and Matthew are the Untouchables of Empire High. They are all beautiful at first glance., but upon closer scrutiny there is evidence of cracks in their façades.
Brooklyn Sanders, sixteen, was numb after the death of her mother weeks ago. She had never known who her father was, so after the funeral she left her Delaware home and went to stay with her Uncle Jim – her only remaining relative. He lived in New York and worked as a janitor at Empire High, where he had enrolled Brooklyn for classes. By the end of the first week of school she had made one friend, Kennedy Alcaraz, who was on a scholarship and was friendless herself. Kennedy also happened to live down the hall, so the two easily became good friends.
Brooklyn still felt like she was drowning without her mother. There was one thing, though, that made her forget about all she lost. Matthew Caldwell. An Untouchable. She lost herself in his presence, and her insecurities were replaced by a feeling of peace. She didn’t know why, but seeing him kept her going. He was the only thing to bring a smile to her face. Unfortunately, when mean girl extraordinaire Isabella Pruitt caught her looking at Matthew, she set her target on Brooklyn.
Brooklyn began her school year with the belief that she was invisible, but she soon became entwined in lies and deceit that put her in the hot seat. Matthew Caldwell was a would-be knight in shining armor that came to her rescue only to ignore her the next moment. His apparent mood changes had her spinning, and his excuses began to dry up. Isabella seemed to own him at times. Rob Hunter was the jokester of the Untouchables, but his humor might have masked hidden pain. James Hunter, the older brother, was dark and troubled but Brooklyn didn’t know why. Isabella sometimes hung onto him, but he had a girlfriend, Rachel, that attended public school. Mason was endlessly absorbed with girls. Matthew’s devotion to his lifelong friends illustrated his sense of loyalty, but despite his promises Brooklyn was left on the outside looking in. In her grief and loneliness, she craved love and friendship – but Matt failed to live up to his promises.
Felix Green, sixteen, quietly snuck into Brooklyn’s life, giving her a second friend. His interest in her was obvious and didn’t waver, but Kennedy warned Brooklyn against him. Felix was easy-going and kind at a time when Brooklyn needed friends, but he was also a dealer according to Kennedy. He was from new money and claimed that he was an outsider, but he was invited to all the parties and had a connection with the Untouchables.
As the story closed, Matthew and Brooklyn had begun a secret relationship of sorts. He tried not to trigger Isabella’s wrath, but the facts were still unclear. Brooklyn did not know what Isabella was using to blackmail Matt nor what the consequence might be if the truth got out, but Matthew assured her that the truth would hurt someone close to him. Matthew’s cold shoulder at Empire High was sometimes so cutting that it drove her to consider Felix’s attentions, who courted her as well. But Uncle Jim’s unexpected death threw life as Brooklyn now knew it into turmoil once again. She had anticipated living with Kennedy and Mrs. Alcaraz, who had been given guardianship of Brooklyn, until Mr. Pruitt showed up at her uncle’s funeral claiming to be her father. He gave her no choice in the matter when he plucked her up and stole her away from Mrs. Alcaraz.
In this book:
This book opens roughly one month into the school year – roughly ten days in advance of Homecoming. It seamlessly picks up where book one left off.
Brooklyn is whisked away from her old life and immersed into the world of the elite. Mr. Pruitt – her father - had never wanted her before, and introducing an illegitimate daughter to his wife and Isabella could not be expected to go well. Brooklyn doesn’t accept the new status quo and quietly plots to escape the opulent and haunted halls of the Pruitt apartment. One major obstacle stands in her way, however. The guard assigned to watch over her is under the strictest of orders.
Miller, in his twenties, escorts Brooklyn everywhere she goes. She is a prisoner for all intents and purposes, blocked from her friends and forced to endure her cold and loveless new home. She develops a case of paranoia – always feeling like someone is watching her. There are mysterious house rules and relationship agreements in addition to her father’s undefined but dangerous business. Miller is guarded in all he says, but Brooklyn eventually puts a few cracks in his façade. They develop a friendship of sorts – and she needs a friend in the Pruitt household. She is now grieving her mother, her uncle, and all sense of security.
Emotions are raw and pressure mounts until the secret Isabella holds over Matt’s head comes out. The news comes with disastrous results for Brooklyn and the Untouchables. Felix Green is not out of the picture yet. The void left by Matthew Caldwell’s devotion to his friends leaves an opening as Brooklyn grieves alone. But when she doesn’t find the comfort of Matthew’s arms at night, yet another steps into the fray. The drama is on full blast as Brooklyn tries to find her bearings in the Pruitt home. Matthew, Felix, and Miller compete for her attention – and all manage to fail her in one way or another. Everything culminates in one confusing and consequential evening that ends in a devastating cliffhanger. Watch for Empire High Betrayal, book three in the series.
You will laugh, cry, and be utterly shocked as the events unfold in this absorbing high school bully story. As it closes, several questions remain. First, there is no detailed answer as to why Brooklyn needs to be watched 24/7. Next, the house rules and relationship agreement remain a curiosity that will likely play a large role in the next book in the series. Richard Pruitt’s business is likewise unclear – though it is known to be dangerous. The issue of jail bait is present in the case of Miller and Brooklyn. He casually mentions her being too young for him but the subject is never broached again. Miller’s ideas and plans with regards to Brooklyn are rather inexplicable given her age. Add to that his attachment to her after watching all her bumbling over the course of a mere ten days, he comes across as implausible (since it might be presumed that Mr. Pruitt would not hire an average Joe to work on the security detail). Finally, Brooklyn’s judgment of Matt for his past feels very misplaced.
A few relationships stand out in this book. The story of Brooklyn and Kennedy’s friendship is strained here, but there is a sense that their friendship is still growing. The story of Brooklyn and her father is surprisingly sentimental. But Richard Pruitt has two very different sides. Just how he will react if Brooklyn breaks a critical rule remains to be seen.
Brooklyn gets a twisted Cinderella story as she struggles to sort out her feelings for Matthew, Felix, and Miller in this bully story. Her wicked half-sister Isabella unleashes a secret that tears the Untouchables apart. The story is wonderfully written. The plot is complex and layered. The characters are carefully crafted. Note that Brooklyn’s character becomes a rather pathetic and needy mess in this story. Granted, she is grieving two deaths and is left only with an evil father who never wanted her, but it is still hard to read. Her indecisiveness not only takes place in her inner thoughts. She acts out in a tremendously selfish way. Not only do Matthew, Felix, and Miller fail her – she utterly fails them. One might expect her to come back as a Phoenix from the flame in the next book. The book is written in first person in Brooklyn’s POV. I rate this book 4.5 stars.
I received an advance copy of this book and am voluntarily leaving a review.
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