The Elite by Kiera Cass, paperback novel, 323 pages, published HarperCollins Children’s Books in 2013.
The Elite is the second book in The Selection series, following on directly from the first book. Prince Maxon has cut the cohort of girls vying for his affection, and the throne, down to just six. These girls are now known as The Elite. Life in the palace is complicated by increased rebel activity, and the other girls are still fighting hard for Maxon. America seems to have Maxon’s heart, but he is still spending plenty of time with the other girls, which makes America jealous. Her feelings for Maxon are escalating, but with Aspen still nearby, who will she choose?
After reading The Selection and enjoying it so much, I came back to read the next book in the series, and I liked it just as much as the first. The Elite was an easy, quick and entertaining read. This book delved more deeply into the history and politics of their dystopian world, and there was more about the rebel forces. I found this quite interesting. The development of the competition itself was also interesting, following the girls’ rivalries, friendships and time with Maxon.
The Selection series is fairytalesque, so of course, the Prince should fall in love with the heroine. Yet, it is not your simple prince meets girl, prince marries girl story. America actually has to fight for him, and Maxon has to fight for her too, as she doesn’t exactly fit the usual princess mould. And they get to do it with the whole nation watching. There was conflict within the plot and some twists, and romance, combining to make for a captivating read.
I felt that Maxon came out of his shell in this story. He wasn’t so meek, and he even argued with America, not letting her have her own way all the time. I liked this development. He also started learning more about his country’s history and the way that the lower castes live. America is certainly opening his eyes to many things. For her part, America is impulsive, generous and fiery. I like her. She is changing as she gathers more knowledge about how the country is run, and how she could change it from the inside. At the same time, Aspen is changing as he serves as a palace guard. They are diverging, yet there are still sparks between them. They have both grown up a lot since we first met them. All the characters gained more depth through this story.
The Elite is suitable for high school students. I’m looking forward to the third book in the series, The One.