The Elite

Bk. 2. 323p. (A Selection Novel). HarperCollins/HarperTeen. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062059963. LC 2012038124.
Gr 8 Up—In The Selection (HarperCollins, 2012), 35 young women applied to compete for the chance to marry Prince Maxon and become princess of Illéa. America Singer is one of the six Elite contestants remaining at the palace. The girls perform various tasks in addition to going on dates to get to know the prince better. Maxon has told America that he likes her, and, if she could only say she cares for him, the competition would be over. Of course, he is still dating the other contestants. America is confused when she sees the way he acts with the others. Because she has only known him for a brief time, it is hard for her to trust him when his actions convey something entirely different. To complicate matters, Aspen, America's ex, who still loves her, is a guard at the palace. When rebels attack, Maxon and America are able to spend some time together, which enables them to clear up how they feel about one another. It will be up to America to prove herself as she competes against the remaining girls in book three. The Elite seems like a mix between The Bachelor, The Hunger Games, and Downton Abbey, but it is set in the future after the United States falls to China. Part of the plot involves learning how the United States became Illéa, a monarchy. Some parts of the story lack background information, but possibly the next book will answer these questions. There is a lot going on here, but readers can pick up with this book and, for the most part, make sense of it.—Jesten Ray, Seattle Public Library, WA
Protagonist America Singer is now one of six "Elite" girls in the competition to become Prince Maxon's wife, but moral and romantic challenges jeopardize her continued participation. This second novel (The Selection) dwells on America's indecisiveness, but interesting ethical issues and intensifying political unrest add depth to the "who will he choose?" aspect of the series, enticing fans back for the finale.

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