“The Elite” by Kiera Cass
4 out of 5 stars.
“The Elite” begins with America and Maxon enjoying a picnic outside; for America, it’s just about as perfect as you can get. But despite the fact that she has deep-seated feelings for Maxon and knows he has already chosen her, America still has feelings for her old flame, Aspen. How can you forget two of the best years of your life? You can’t, and that’s the trouble. Maxon makes her feel loved, cherished, protected, beautiful, and when he is near, Maxon is all America thinks about. But she cannot discount Aspen’s love for her and the love that still burns in her heart even after he rejected her; she also never wanted to be princess. She could have what she always wanted with Aspen now, nothing is stopping her. Nothing but her own heart.
The decision seems to have made itself for America, and it looks like everything will be okay, better than okay, actually. But then all hell breaks loose. Everyone America thought she could trust turns out to be hiding secrets that hold many lives in the balance, quite possibly even her own life. America doesn’t know who she can trust anymore. Can she make it through the Selection as an Elite or is she doomed to fail Maxon, Aspen, and quite possibly all of Illea?
“The Elite” was a great read and Kiera Cass did not disappoint, instead she surprised me. “The Selection” is what my sisters and I classify as “fluff”. If you hear the word fluff come out of my mouth, it is not an insult; on the contrary, it is a compliment. I absolutely loved “The Selection.” I thought that it was very well written, well paced, and that Cass’ characters were not only wonderful and endearing, but also felt very real; they had emotions that were more true to human nature than the usual teen novel. I love the first one, and “The Elite” is not exception.
“The Elite” is basically about America’s struggle in choosing between Maxon and Aspen. Both love her and want her, but she just can’t decide. There are almost the same amount of pros as there are cons in each relationship. America doesn’t want to be a princess or a One, but she really likes Maxon and it is getting harder and harder to imagine her life without him; it’s almost unimaginable. But she still loves Aspen and he has always been there for her, and now that he is a Two, nothing is holding them back. I’m sure you can see her dilemma already; old love doesn’t go away all that easily, but this newfound thing with Maxon is wonderful and America wants to pursue that.
But there is more to “The Elite” than meets the eye. The rebels are getting more aggressive, more persistent in their attacks, and so many secrets are kept that America doesn’t know which way is up and which way is down; she even begins to doubt Maxon (egad!!!). Despite her turmoil, I was a little peeved with America. Her indecision was kind of annoying in the fact that Maxon has told her MULTIPLE times that he will always choose her, she is the only one he wants and that he will give her time to choose to stay or go. Then she talks with Aspen (who is only an “s” away from what he truly is) and is confused about what she should do. Maxon and America will have these wonderful moments and she’ll promise him she’s going to stay, and then at the first sight of Aspen she goes off and kisses him. Really!! Then she gets all jealous that Maxon spends time with the other girls in the Selection. She does not have the right to judge, and on top of that, Maxon has to make a decision at the end of the Selection about who he will marry. If America backs out and leaves, the poor guy still has to marry someone even if he couldn’t have the one he truly loves. In my opinion, America played Maxon and Aspen very unfairly. She used them (not always intentionally) for her purpose, and then went to the next guy when one upset or disagreed with her. It was a little frustrating. *sighs*.
Okay, besides the America debacle, the rest of the book was really good. I was surprised at how different, though, it was from “The Selection.” I still felt connected and like all the characters were still the same people, but the book itself was much darker than the first; there was more drama in “The Elite” than just the occasional cat fight in a ballroom. Lots of crazy, awesome things happened (but I won’t spoil it) in “The Elite” that I think were very interesting. It was also well paced liked the first book, and I never felt bored even when there was down time. I am kind of excited as well as worried what Kiera will do to wrap this trilogy up. It was delightful, and now I have to be patient. Noooooooo!!!!