Published by HarperTeen on April 23, 2013
Genres: Young Adult, Dystopian, Romance
The Selection began with thirty-five girls.
Now with the group narrowed down to the six Elite, the competition to win Prince Maxon’s heart is fiercer than ever—and America is still struggling to decide where her heart truly lies. Is it with Maxon, who could make her life a fairy tale? Or with her first love, Aspen?
America is desperate for more time. But the rest of the Elite know exactly what they want—and America’s chance to choose is about to slip away.
I picked up The Elite, the second book in The Selection series, right after finishing the first book. The story continues with America and Maxon on a date, just shortly after book one comes to a close. America is still struggling to decide whether she can fall in love with Maxon and one day become Queen, or whether she wants to be with Aspen after all.
At first I was really enjoying The Elite. The writing clearly matured, and the grammatical mistakes I noticed in The Selection were fixed. In addition, I was loving how the story was deepening. There are some really interesting twists and turns in this novel, and I enjoyed learning more about the politics of Illéa. Unfortunately, as the book continued I became more and more unhappy with the direction of the novel.
While I recognize that this series is heavy on the romance, it does bother me that the main plot of The Elite is the love triangle between America, Maxon, and Aspen. There is so much going on in this world, and yet all we get to focus on is America’s indecisiveness. I really enjoyed America’s character in The Selection, but in this book she became extremely unlikeable, and doesn’t act in accordance with her described qualities. For example, Cass tells us America is very stubborn. Yet America is very gullible, and believes what others tell her. She also can’t make a decision, so I’m not seeing this stubbornness executed in the story. Similarly, we are told America is intelligent, but America is constantly acting emotionally rash, and makes poor decisions without thinking. Her character just didn’t seem to be flushed out well.
Moreover, I did notice a few plot holes in The Elite, which greatly detracted from the quality of the novel for me. A small plot hole is when America and Kriss are talking in the gardens. Kriss makes a comment about how America and Maxon like to spend time in the garden, and America has no idea how Kriss would know that. America assumes Maxon told Kriss, but in the first book, America announces on the Report that she and Maxon spend dates in the garden. While this is a small continuity issue, it is a plot hole nonetheless.
The larger plot hole is one that I cannot discuss without spoiling part of the story. However, it is one that greatly affects the series as a whole. I spent a lot of time skimming through the book to see if I could find the answer to this otherwise gaping hole, and I even did an online search to hopefully solve the issue. No matter how much searching I did, it seems like I did find a huge plot hole, and that is really disappointing.
Overall, I felt very let down by The Elite. It started off really well, but then got progressively worse as I continued reading. I feel like this book focuses way too much on the love triangle, but what confuses me is that we could have a really great and solid story if the love triangle was resolved in book one. I also feel like the selection itself should have ended in the first book, so we could now focus more on the world and the politics in this dystopian society. I will still continue on with the series to see how the selection ends, but I was quite disappointed with this book.
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