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The Elite (The Selection, #2)Book Synopsis:

The Selection #2
Published April 2013 by Harper Teen
YA, Dystopia, Romance | 323 pages

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. 

Book Review: ★★★★

“It’s okay, Kriss. Have some pie.” – The Elite page

I had really high hopes for this book. I was looking forward to learning more about the rebels and see if America was going to make a choice between Maxon and Aspen. Honestly, after such a great first novel I was rather disappointed with this second installment. The characters – practically all of them – started to annoy me in this book. America was constantly flipping back and forth between Aspen and Maxon. I understand being a hormonal teenager, I was one at one point. I remember feeling giddy anytime a nice guy would pay attention to me or do something special. But America just could not keep her mind. It was ‘oh Maxon did this sweet thing I like him!’ and then a few pages later ‘Oh but Aspen and I have something special’. At one point she starts to question Maxon and his actual intentions when he starts paying more attention to the other Elites. But I would have found it more believable if she had stuck to her gut instead of falling back ‘in love’ with him after a simple (and sometimes not so straightforward) explanation. It was even more annoying that Maxon was telling her how much he cares, but only if she changes the basis of who she is. Aspen was equally annoying because he kept telling America he would always be there for her, but never gave her enough space to make decisions. He was constantly smothering her with his attention and love (which is dangerously stupid given their situation). The only characters that I didn’t find utterly annoying was Marlee.

The competition – which I guess is the basis of this series – continued on interestingly. The girls are given more appropriate tasks and lessons. They are being taught how to act like a queen and learning about the issues they will have to deal with if they get the crown. They are learning about politics and world issues. I thoroughly enjoyed when they were given the task to organize a party for foreign guests (the Italians were hilariously fun).

What I really enjoyed was learning more about the rebels. I find this – currently – subplot a lot more interesting than America flip flopping with her love life. They are present more in this second novel and we even learn more about how the country was created. I won’t say more because I don’t want to spoil this for anyone.

Regardless of my annoyance with most of the characters, the book was still very good. It was a good second book and I really look forward to reading the third and final installment. I do really hope to learn more about the rebels and how this world is a dystopia because I feel like so far we’ve only had a very superficial look into the world and its problems.