Cover image for Select : book one
Select : book one
Weisenberg, Marit, author.
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Publication Information:
Watertown, MA : Charlesbridge Teen, [2017]
Physical Description:
344 pages ; 22 cm
Julia Jaynes of Austin, Texas, is one of the select, a secret group of humans with abilities bordering on the supernatural, but, unlike her younger sister, she has never been entirely comfortable as part of the "perfect" family--and when she falls for a normal human guy and draws attention to her more-than-normal family she finds herself banished to that most ordinary of institutions: public high school.
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Y FICTION Young Adult Fiction Popular Materials-Young Adult

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Coming from a race of highly-evolved humans, Julia Jaynes has the perfect life. The perfect family. The perfect destiny. But there's something rotten beneath the surface--dangerous secrets her father is keeping; abilities she was never meant to have; and an elite society of people determined to keep their talents hidden and who care nothing for the rest of humanity. So when Julia accidentally disrupts the Jaynes' delicate anonymity, she's banished to the one place meant to make her feel inferior- public high school. a

Julia's goal is to lay low and blend in. Then she meets him--John Ford, tennis prodigy, all-around good guy. When Julia discovers a knack for reading his mind, and also manipulating his life, school suddenly becomes a temporary escape from the cold grip of her manipulative father. But as Julia's powers over John grow, so do her feelings. For the first time in her life, Julia begins to develop a sense of self, to question her restrictive upbringing and her family prejudices. She must decide- can a perfect love be worth more than a perfect life?

Author Notes

Marit Weisenberg has a master's degree from UCLA in Cinema and Media Studies and worked as a film and television executive for a number of years in Los Angeles. She currently lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and two daughters. Select is Marit's debut novel for young adult readers.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Julia is rich, talented, smart, and almost immortal, part of a private ruling class of superhumans hiding in plain sight. She's also in big trouble. At a gathering gone awry, her powers overwhelm her, exposing her to the suspicious human world, and as punishment, her father sentences her to life in a human high school. It's there that she's drawn to star tennis jock John, who has secrets she's determined to uncover. Likewise, John is bound and determined to find out her secrets, especially when she's not trying too hard to conceal her own truth. Away from her friends and family, among the outsiders, Julia has to decide what's important to her, and how to go on when the most important people in your life have left you. Debut author Weisenberg is off to an ambitious start, mixing mystery with science fiction and a heaping dose of romance. While her premise is intriguing, it's slow to start, and this does drag a little, making it best for larger collections.--Comfort, Stacey Copyright 2017 Booklist

School Library Journal Review

Gr 8 Up-After Julia reveals a little too much in public, thus endangering her group, Novak (aka her Dad) does the unthinkable. He asks Julia to separate herself entirely, withdraws her from the posh private school everyone in their group attends, and enrolls her in public school. Once there, she has to dial everything back even further-from tennis prowess to near-prescient academic inclinations. Determined to lie low and earn an invitation back into the fold before Relocation, Julia knows she should have nothing to do with John Ford, the boy who observed the incident where she revealed too much and took the fall for it, and who now happens to sit right by her in English class. She knows, but finds it nearly impossible to heed her own warnings, as she becomes more deeply connected to him, learns more about herself, the group, and what choices she might be forced to make. This reads like realistic fiction with a few slight dashes of sci-fi and dystopian fantasy. Though technically a superhuman species, Julia's extended family is portrayed more like a cult, and the plot unfolds more as a brief glimpse into the psychology behind this arrangement than a well-developed alternate society. The plot zooms in closely on Julia and her struggle to reconcile her identity with that of the group and her relationship with John. VERDICT Readers interested in a fully realized science fiction tale will likely come up short, though teens seeking an easy read about forbidden passion will find something to love.-Jill Heritage Maza, Montclair Kimberley Academy, NJ © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



AUGUST Chapter One   "Julia!" That startled me. I turned my head, tucking my hair behind my ear so I could see Angus come to stand beside me. "Hey." He stopped and focused on the wall-length curved panel. The light of the TV sliced into the dimly lit room, rudely cutting through the Zen-like atmosphere. I thought my family would just flash across the screen, but the camera held on them. "Novak Jaynes and his wife, Dr. Victoria Jaynes, major donors to the new University of Texas Medical School, are here with their daughter." You could tell the commentator was unsure of what he was allowed to say, and that he wished the camera would move on. Due to a well-publicized Securities and Exchange Commission investigation, this year there would be no hailing "the Oracle of Austin"--my dad, the investor with preternatural abilities. Angus was temporarily still while he watched Novak, Victoria, and my sister in their suite at the football stadium. I was impressed with Liv. I knew the toll this must be taking on her, trying to keep the public from penetrating the imaginary wall of glass Novak had taught us all to erect. No one in my family looked overwhelmed by the sensory overload of the football game or by the fact that people--now a cameraman--were studying them. It was impossible not to stare. Even for me. They were a perfectly matched, elegant family, with their sun-streaked brown hair and beautiful, fine features, although now my sister was taking it to a different level. It was like they'd externalized being members of the One Percent. Angus paused to look again--at my almost-grown-up sister, I knew--a second longer than I would have liked before getting back to business. "Come on. They're waiting for us," he said. To my surprise Angus ran his hand down my tattooed arm before catching my wrist, then my hand, and pulling me out of the room. We interlaced fingers. He didn't ask why I wasn't at the game. He knew. Everyone knew I wasn't invited. But Angus was maybe the only person who actually seemed more interested in me than in them. A voice in my head whispered that maybe he only wanted me for what he thought I could teach him. "You suddenly interested in UT football?" Angus joked lightly. I laughed and said, "Very interested in football." But I was embarrassed I'd been caught watching. We walked hand in hand through Paul's parents' many living rooms. Through the windows we could see some of our group wrestling on the grass in the side yard. When we stepped outside, Angus immediately dropped my hand. I didn't understand why it hadn't happened between us yet. Every night this summer I thought he would make the first move. Maybe he was waiting for me to take the first step, but I wanted it to come from him. He got everything he wanted, and I didn't want to fall in his lap too. The moment I stepped outdoors, I felt as if I were enveloped in a swamp. Not everything could be controlled, I guess. But the landscape was lush. Only money could tame a garden like this into submission in the August heat of Texas. The harshness of the black gravel contrasted with the softness of the flowers, the symmetry of the stone pathways, and the soothing paleness of the white-brick monolith behind me. The boys were unusually sweaty. T-shirts clung to shoulder blades, and I could see beads of perspiration on those necks not covered with light brown hair. They looked uniform with their honey coloring. I was always aware of how I stood out. Angus and I came to stand near the boys, waiting patiently for them to finish playing. Next to me, Angus removed his hand from the back of his neck, revealing one tattoo. His arms were covered with ink as well--designs of black bands around them, as if he were in mourning. I wasn't sure if it was in honor of our ancestors or if it was a statement about his current situation. I could tell he felt me appraising him, and I quickly looked away. We watched the dog pile. The boys looked like they were going to kill each other tonight. Their cuts and bruises would be unusually bad, but at least they would disappear quickly. I noticed Paul standing off the path and directly on top of some landscaping, size-thirteen boots crushing flowering ground cover--a minor fuck-you to his parents. He lit a cigarette and, through that first cloud of smoke, squinted up at us as we joined the all-male group. Instantly Paul's body language changed, now less the punk and ready to defer to Angus. And when they realized Angus was there, none of the boys resisted the instinct to turn their bodies to face him, in an act of deference and respect--the same as we all did when my father was in the room. I wasn't sure if Angus was aware of it, but when it was just the two of us he in turn angled his body toward me. Sebastian had been blocking my view of Ellis, and when he shifted I saw what was going on. A knife was plunged into Ellis's right hand--a steak knife with a curved silver blade protruding from his golden flesh. There wasn't the least sign of blood. The boys stopped wrestling all at once and gathered around, watching and taunting, voices too loud for the serene setting on the water. Driving it deeper, Ellis maintained his impassive face, and the group, fiercely competitive with one another, attempted to look unimpressed. Ellis was getting good. All at once he crashed, turning white as the blood drained from his face. Angus broke through the group, grasped the handle, and in a smooth, confident maneuver removed the knife. I saw the deep wound between the knuckles begin to seep just a bare amount of dark-red, almost-black, blood. Well done , I thought. Ellis had almost controlled his response to the pain. Now he seemed to be recovering. He hid his compromised hand behind his back, wanting to protect it from the critical eye of the group. "I should go," I said, always aware I was the only girl. "She didn't like the trick," Cyrus said, laughing. Despite that I'd grown up with these seven boys and that no one in this group would ever think of doing anything to hurt me, I felt vaguely uneasy when I looked around. Over the past year they had transformed their appearance like I had. They were deeply attractive, but they appeared hardened now with their abundance of tattoos and scars. And they were in fact hardened after a year of living with their wings clipped. I reminded myself it didn't matter that I was the only female. It had just been me for the past year. I couldn't help thinking that if any other girls had been included in our particular group, things wouldn't be as out of control. There was too much testosterone. Every night the boys wanted to play in secret, practicing skills we didn't understand and weren't supposed to explore--thanks to me and my moment of weakness telling Angus what had happened last spring. I had explicitly disobeyed Novak when I shared my secret, wanting to impress Angus. Novak had warned me not to say anything after I'd gathered my courage and told him about the odd experience I'd had on a ski trip to Park City, Utah. It had started with a stupid mistake. I'd locked myself out on my bedroom balcony when I went to smoke a cigarette in the middle of the night. For hours I'd been trapped in the well-below-freezing temperature in shorts and a T-shirt, kicking myself because the cigarette wasn't even worth it--it had no short-term or long-term effects on us. It was just something to do. I told my father how, instinctively, I closed my eyes and focused inward, visualizing the color blue turning to warm red, and I must have raised my core temperature, because I didn't feel cold while I was stranded out there. Then I showed Novak how, if I concentrated my energies on an object, I could move it or even break it--like a door lock, which is how I got back into the ski house after I eventually grew bored waiting for someone to come rescue me. I was surprised how fast he shut me down. "Those are only tricks. We're capable, but we don't practice them because they aren't worth the exposure. Don't tell anyone what happened, and don't do them again. Understood?" Immediately I felt like an idiot because I actually thought I'd done something extraordinary. Apparently it was nothing. I had irrationally hoped it would be enough to get me moved to the other set of teenagers in our group. In keeping with tradition, those sixteen- and seventeen-year-olds were finally getting answers about themselves and all the inexplicable things we could do. Those of us who remained, myself and the other teenagers in my group were the first of our kind ever to be kept in the dark. I thought of us as the Lost Kids. Paul suddenly began to back away from the group, walking toward the driveway. We understood. We could all sense there were suddenly more of us in the vicinity. His parents were almost home. Moments later we could hear their car driving toward us, just a few blocks away now. "Come on." Angus breezed past his friends, walking toward his brand-new and badly dented black BMW without giving them a glance. He knew they would follow. "Where to?" Rob unfolded his long body from a steel bench and stretched, showing off defined abs. "Julia!" Angus pulled my attention away from Rob. I could tell Angus noticed I was noticing, and he didn't like it. I smiled to myself, feeling more optimistic about tonight. I walked down the path to join him and arched an eyebrow. Whatever trepidation I was feeling inside, I had almost complete confidence I was masking it. Even if I was the bastard child and a Lost Kid, I was Julia Jaynes, Novak's daughter. And I owned it. Because if I didn't, I'd have no place in the world. "Where do you want to go tonight?" Angus looked in my eyes and, briefly, we shared a moment. I knew he was wondering if I would play along tonight and that he was willing to try to charm me into it. I didn't totally trust Angus, not after he broke his promise to me at the beginning of summer and showed these boys what I'd taught him how to do. They had taken the idea that they could assert their minds over their bodies and quickly gone to extremes. I understood: it felt good. It was a way to channel that pent-up feeling that physically hurt. But I couldn't show them anything else or Novak would kill me and he might punish the boys. The ultimate threat of being left behind was almost enough to dissuade us from breaking the rules. Almost. More often the residual anger at being demoted and segregated from our other friends just empowered us to rebel. Still, for tonight I could go along for the ride and enjoy as Angus continued to try to make it up to me for telling my secret. "The train tracks," I said. I tossed my hair and stood at my full five feet four inches. It was an announcement, not a question. I saw surprise and respect on Angus's face. "You going to jump trains with us tonight, Julia?" he asked flirtatiously. We all started pairing off and climbing into the collection of luxury sports cars in the circular drive of Paul's parents' contemporary monstrosity. We weren't that far from my house. "We'll see," I flirted back. I wished I could stop the blush that warmed my face when Angus opened the passenger door for me. I hated it. No one else in the group did that. Everybody seemed to have near-perfect command over their emotions and only showed what they wanted others to read. Car doors slammed behind me in perfect unison. Angus and I would lead them where I wanted to go. It was a powerful feeling. Train jumping should distract them. It was challenging enough. They might not ask for more. Excerpted from Select by Marit Weisenberg All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.