Blurb: 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 Iléa.
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.
The Elite picks up pretty much where The Selection left of, with only six girls left in the competition. America and Maxon's relationship seems to be going smoothly, with the exception of America being able to fully admit her feelings for him even though she's able to see her self as his wife more and more each day. It seems that Maxon is determined to make America happy at all costs, but after certain events America grows more and more skeptical about Maxon's true feelings for her and her trust in him and their relationship starts to fall apart. Growing more confused, desperate and lost, America finds solace in Aspen and his steady devotion even though their relationship is forbidden and would result in death. Throughout all of America's worries about the Selection, the rebels are getting closer to the royal family and have been attacking more frequently and violently. No one is safe: not from the violence, not from elimination, and certainly not from heartbreak. And it is all of this that draws you in. The choice in the beginning of The Elite seems quite clear: America and Maxon should be together. But as the book unfolds, some situations become too much for America and the royals to bare. All the fates in the universe seem to be determined to tear them apart, and because of America's insecurities they almost do.
The Elite has an entirely different feel from The Selection. It felt a little darker and a whole lot sadder. Where in The Selection America and Maxon have this seemingly perfect friendship-turned-romance, The Elite brings trials in which their relationship is tested, making Maxon seem devious and manipulative and nothing like the charming, sweet, shy boy we came to love in The Selection. And then there's Aspen who is always there for America when she's going through all of these troubles, yet he only seemed to make things worse by saying that it's better she found out just what kind of guy Maxon is now than to have married him and found out later and that he knew all along just how manipulative he was, when really he had no clue as to Maxon's true character or any insight at all into what was really going on. Aspen just seemed like a jealous boy who finally had a way of getting the girl he wants and used that to manipulate her mind into thinking he was the better guy. Throughout both books I just couldn't see what America sees in Aspen and even now after finishing The Elite, I still don't see it. I've tried. Really, I have but even after everything that happened between Maxon and America, I'm still rooting for them. Aspen just seems to be reckless when it comes to spending time with America, even though he's very careful about when he does see her. It just seems to me like he wouldn't risk it with the punishment for their being together being death for both of them. Anyways, enough about Aspen and my disliking him. You can find out more about my thoughts on Aspen, America and Maxon's love-triangle in my spoilers section below.
The Elite started out on a slow note to me. It didn't immediately suck me in as The Selection did; however the further along I got, the better it became and the more I needed to know what happened at the end. I can definitely say that I hate I have to wait so long to read The One. America went through so much in The Elite, and I truly believe that the strength she has gained will help her to become the next Queen and save the kingdom that is falling apart. That's what I'm hoping anyways. While I didn't love The Elite as much as I loved The Selection, it is a very nice sequel and I can't wait to find out what happens between America and Maxon in The One.
“It wasn’t like I made his world better. It was like I was his world. It wasn’t some explosion; it wasn’t fireworks. It was a fire, burning slowly from the inside out.”
“I was afraid I was wrong, that you would change your mind any second. I’ve been looking for a suitable alternative, but the truth is …”—Maxon looked me in the eyes again, unwavering—“there’s only you. Maybe I’m not really looking, maybe they aren’t right for me. It doesn’t matter. I just know I want you. And that terrifies me. I’ve been waiting for you to take back the words, to beg to leave.”
“I know, I know. It's hard to explain. All I can say is that I've been given a second chance. Maxon matters to me, and I'm going to fight for him."
My thoughts on the Maxon/America/Aspen love-triangle:
Here I am going to complain about something that really bothered me (and also bothered me about The Selection) but more so in The Elite. In The Selection, America was going back and forth between Aspen and Maxon a lot, which was semi-understandable since she was really only doing the Selection to get money for her family, something that she was 100% honest with Maxon about, and because Aspen asked her to. She was honest with Maxon about having an ex-boyfriend and the fact that she was only in the Selection for the money and Maxon was patient and kind enough to accept that in hopes that she would change her mind about him. And she did. But she still had all of these feelings for Aspen and thinking she would never see Aspen again, she began to let herself want Maxon. But then Aspen showed up and she was going back and forth. Okay, fine, whatever. She's still torn, I get that. But then at the end of The Selection, she told Aspen that she needed space in order to give herself a chance and the choice to be chosen and to become the next queen and actually do something for her family and the country. This made me so excited for her because she was finally seeing all the potential she had. But then in The Elite, she suddenly loses all of her confidence in herself and Prince Maxon and completely ruins so many things for herself. And she brings Aspen back into the picture, going back and forth between the them again. I'm sure that being one of the Selected is very stressful and difficult to handle, but the fact that her being with Aspen could result in her death if discovered was cause for alarm in my mind yet she still spent several intimate moments with him despite that "little" fact. Surprisingly enough, they were never caught (in either book) but I have a feeling that the king is going to be keeping a VERY close eye on her in the next book and being with Aspen could cause her a lot of grief. My advice to her would be to stay the hell away from him. He's nothing but bad news for her in my opinion and he should definitely respect her enough keep his distance if he loves her as he says he does, especially after she asked him to give her that space (which he did very reluctantly). He shouldn't-and wouldn't-want to put her in a position that could result her death. That just seems incredibly selfish to me and NOTHING like love. I guess these kinds of love-triangles just get under my skin a bit. I mean, being torn between to guys isn't that big of a deal but to be making out with each of them every chance you get? That's a bit much. America wasn't too bad about that, but the fact that she risked dying just to spend a few moments with Aspen made her seem childish and irresponsible and that really bothered me.