Thursday, June 12, 2014

Book Review:The Elite (The Selection #2) by Kiera Cass

Release Date: April 23, 2013
Info about the author: Goodreads - Twitter - Website
Publisher: HarperTeen
Age group: YA
Pages: 336
Buy the book: Amazon - Book Depository

Description (from Goodreads):

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 Illea.

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 second installment in Kiera Cass's The Selection series continues with what the first novel introduced to the reader - the selection, the rebellious situation in the country and most importantly, the love triangle between America, Prince Maxon and Aspen, now a guard at the palace. 

America left her home and her status as a Five thinking she would never find a connection with the stiff seeming Prince Maxon. But from the moment they met, there has been a connection between them, which America occasionally welcomes and occasionally finds troubling and confusing, especially when her old flame Aspen is around. She knows that she has feelings for Maxon, but she is not sure whether she is ready to face the consequences that would follow from giving herself completely to Maxon; she is not sure whether she is ready to be a princess or not. But quickly she notices that the more time she takes trying to figure her feelings out, the more distant Maxon gets. 

I did like The Elite and found it almost as entertaining as The Selection. It is almost like watching a soap opera or something like that - the emotions and the action is very over the top in many cases and sometimes it feels like the dramatic things that happen (the rebels etc.) are over emphasized at first and then very quickly toned down after the dramatic effect has been created. It is clear that Cass has decided to focus on the relationships rather than the world building, which I don't personally mind, but I know there might be readers out there who would get frustrated over the fact that Cass does not really take much time to establish the details of the world the characters inhabit. 

One of the things that annoyed me most about this book was the fact that unlike the independent and kind of sarcastic America we got to know in the first book, we are now introduced to a very indecisive and kind of naive America. She has a very difficult time making decisions, and when she does make them, she makes them on a whim. She first says that she feels a certain way, but then someone just slightly hits something negative about that way to feeling and she instantly changes her mind without really thinking about it. But I guess that kind of goes with her being a teenager and all since most of these decisions and judgments made on a whim are somehow related to the love triangle between her and the two guys. 

The love triangle. Oh, the burning love triangle. Let me tell you - it's heavy and constant in this one. It was established in the first book, and it continues building up in this one, eventually reaching heights that occasionally are very over-the-top (very fitting to soap operas). And then some of the other girls in the selection, who are all a bit like walking cliches, are added to the soup and the romantic relationships of this novel reach new heights. I know there are readers who completely hate situations like this. If you are one of those, it might not be the wisest decision for you to pick this one up. But if you enjoy soap operas with their heightened drama and ever changing feelings, you will probably really enjoy the romantic story lines of this series.

If someone would ask me about my YA guilty pleasure books, I would probably name these ones. I don't want to make you think that I'm embarrassed of reading these or something (sometimes the word "guilty pleasure" leads to that kind of conclusions), because I am not. What I mean is that though I do read a lot of YA with romance element, this series does not really represent the type of books I usually pick up. It would not be wrong to say that these novels are kind of predictable and occasionally very cliche, but sometimes I don't mind that. They are fast to read, the romance is quite cute and fluffy and sometimes it is just fun to read about characters that don't feel very realistic. And seriously, who would not want to have two hot guys fawning over them? 

I hope that the third and final novel in the trilogy reaches a conclusion that is satisfying and that America actually does end up making a decision. The Elite definitely ends in a situation which promises even more drama and problems for America and I sense that the third novel will also be very heavy on the love triangle, but that there might also be finally a bit more about the society and the world in which the characters live in. 


  1. So funny that you've just posted this, because I finished reading it last night!

    I agree that I basically wanted to strangle America - quit being so naive. And for I while I started to think that she didn't even deserve Maxon...asking him for "time" when really she was, you know, hanging out with Aspen. And I am VERY concerned with what's going to happen when she eventually tells Maxon what she'd been doing the whole time. Considering Marlee...

    Yes, the novels are super cliche (but isn't that why we sometimes read YA romance?) but once America gave her presentation on the castes, I started to hope that in the third book, she leads a rebel faction and burns the palace down or something, you know? Especially with the king's reaction (and how it came out what the king's relationship with Maxon is really like). I sort of now want it to be about more than The Selection for America. And I almost think I would be satisfied if, at the end, she's not with either of them, but she's done what she think can change lives.

    Great review - you hit the nail on the head - America is being a simpering teenager in "love" with two boys instead of an independent girl who left her home to, essentially, help her family.

    Gah, sorry this is so long, I still have all my feelings about it fresh in my mind.

    1. I found America's naivety so annoying at points - I feel like if the story would have focused more on HER and not on the guys around her, the story would have been so much more interesting. But these books are like a drug - you just want to keep going even though the books might get you super annoyed. It is kind of like watching Gossip Girl from TV.

      I hope you enjoy the third book! I found it satisfying (though cliche, like the previous books, but I kind of expected that) and it made me happy about picking this series up.

      Thanks for stopping by :)


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