Title: The Elite (The Selection #2)
Author: Kiera Cass
Release Date: April 23rd 2013
Age Group: Young Adult
Thirty-five girls came to the palace to compete in the Selection. All but six have been sent home. And only one will get to marry Prince Maxon and be crowned princess of Illéa.
America still isn’t sure where her heart lies. When she’s with Maxon, she’s swept up in their new and breathless romance, and can’t dream of being with anyone else. But whenever she sees Aspen standing guard around the palace, and is overcome with memories of the life they planned to share. With the group narrowed down to the Elite, the other girls are even more determined to win Maxon over—and time is running out for America to decide.
Just when America is sure she’s made her choice, a devastating loss makes her question everything again. And while she’s struggling to imagine her future, the violent rebels that are determined to overthrow the monarchy are growing stronger and their plans could destroy her chance at any kind of happy ending.The Elite was nothing if not confusing. Yes, it was even more addicting than the first book—I wouldn't have put it down if not for class—it was intense, shocking, and emotional, but it was absolutely confusing, above all else. It had me questioning myself as soon as I'd decided on something. Or, as America graciously summed up for me:
"Mostly how confused I get about them. Like how I'll think I understand what's happening to me, and then something shifts, and my feelings change."
So why was I confused, you ask? The goddamn romance. More specifically, the Maxon-America-Aspen love triangle. I've encountered numerous love triangles before, but none of those had me furiously pulling at my hair every few chapters or so as much as this one did, and I can attribute that to America's indecision that spanned the length of an entire book. Thinking about it now, it's actually hilarious in the way something frustrating can be. At first, it seemed like choosing between Maxon and Aspen was impossible because she liked them both equally, but eventually it became clear that America was just falling harder for Maxon. Still, America couldn't completely let go of Aspen, but to her defense, he practically begged for her to keep giving their love a chance. So then he ended up being her plan B, much like the other girls were Maxon's back-ups in case America decided to quit the Selection.
But despite her indecisiveness, I never got irritated with America, and that actually surprised me. She couldn't give up on the enchanting future she could have with Maxon, but she also couldn't let go of the possibility of continuing what she had with Aspen. Despite her romance troubles, though, America was still the same brave, loyal, loving redhead that her father was proud of. (Seriously. The bits with her dad made me teary-eyed.) Say what you will about her writing, but Kiera Cass has a way—at least for me—with making her characters relatable and understandable.
Because it wasn't just America who could have ticked me off; Maxon did a lot worse. And that was another one of this book's surprises! I'd always thought of Maxon as this angelic prince who couldn't do wrong, but turns out he's probably the most complex character in this trilogy. Oh, he sure tempted me a lot of times to go over to Team Aspen. I mean, the way he flirted with the other girls when he kept on telling America that he loved her? Ugh. It was disgusting to watch at times, but I let that slide because America was doing the same to him without his knowing. Still... why, Maxon, why?
Bottomline: I still loved America and Maxon, and I still shipped them, but Aspen was the hero here.
If you're thinking that The Elite only has romance in it—you're wrong. There was also much to learn about Illea's history, the rebels and just what they want, and the secondary characters. The other Elite aren't just pretty girls vying for the crown, and in this sequel we see just how much they're willing to fight for Maxon's heart. Admittedly, the stakes weren't upped too much, but the tension went off the charts. A lot of new questions were raised and left unanswered, so just tell me how many future children I have to give up so I can read The One asap!
MY FAVORITE PART was Halloween! ♥