The Elite by Kiera Cass
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.
I read The Selection back when it first came out, and it was a really controversial book. It seemed like people either fell head-over-heels in love with it or hated it. I was sort of in the middle. I didn't totally love it, but I didn't hate it either. For the most part, I really enjoyed reading The Selection. There were some things I didn't like about it, but I was excited to read the sequel.
Overall, my thoughts on The Elite are almost the same as The Selection. I liked both books equally, and while I enjoyed my experience reading them, I'm not all that invested in the series.
One of the biggest problems I had with The Selection was the main character. I had such a difficult time understanding her, and I thought she was selfish and childish and impossible to relate to. But in The Elite, I was surprised to find that I really didn't have that many issues with America. She seemed to have been transformed by the Selection process and the new life she was thrown into in the first book, and the changes she experienced were really clear in The Elite. She seemed to grow up a little, and she became smarter and more mature. She started to look at life differently from the way she had always seen life before she arrived at the castle, and the effect on her was positive.
Listen, I don't want to upset any Aspen fans, but I still can't stand him. Sorry! I just don't think he's a good character. In the first book, I felt like he had no real place in the story, and that didn't change all that much in the second book. He became more important in The Elite, but not important enough that I actually appreciated his character. It's not that I hate him. He's just kind of...there. I don't think he has any real purpose.
But then there's Maxon. I liked him in the first book, but I liked him even more in The Elite. America got to know him really well in this book, and I loved getting to learn more about him. I think he's a great character. As a love interest for America, I'm not so sure, but I definitely appreciate all the scenes with him in them.
Just like The Selection, The Elite was a fun and quick read. I believe I read it in one sitting. I didn't want to put it down. Once you start reading, you just want to keep going. The story was fast-paced and exciting, and there were no dull moments. With this series, I find that I'm not completely emotionally invested in the characters or their lives. When I read the books, I'm able to take a step back and just enjoy them, without experiencing emotional pain on the characters' behalf. I'm not sure if this is a common reaction for readers, but for me, this series is simply a fun and light read that I don't have to think too much about.
While I understand why a lot of people didn't like The Elite, or the series in general, I have to disagree. These books are certainly not the best I've ever read, but at the end of the day, I enjoyed reading them. When I was reading The Elite, I was excited to turn the pages and find out what happened next. So while I'm not obsessed or anything, I'm definitely curious to read the next book in the series.