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."
My Review: The Elite was good and bad, in my opinion. Here's what I found good: Kiera Cass followed the same formula and writing style that made me enjoy The Selection. America was just as realistic as she was last time, a good mix of teenage girl and tough girl and normal girl. I'm glad Cass didn't fall into the same rut all dystopian authors do and make the second book about some sort of "uprising" or "revolution" where the heroine becomes some sort of Katniss Everdeen-esq warrior-ninja. It worked for Suzanne Collins...but it doesn't work for everyone. And these books always seemed more like Gossip Girl or The Bachelorette than they did a war story. So while there was war, I'm glad Cass chose to MOSTLY focus on the Selection and the romance and the issues with the other girls more than she did the rebels. Because honestly, that plot seemed pretty backseat-ish to the love triangle. And I enjoyed the love triangle as well; it's kind of obvious who America is going to pick, but hey, you never know what might happen in the last book. Both guys have their ups and downs. It's not like the Twilight Saga, where I was firmly on one guy's side.
Here was the bad: NOTHING HAPPENED. Okay, fine, the thing with Marlee---that was big. But that was probably the ONLY thing of importance that happened in this book. I feel like at the end of the book, nothing had changed, except for Marlee. The same few girls who were there at the beginning---the same few girls who MATTER to the plot, anyway, not the random girls none of us care about---were both still there at the end. America had made advances in her relationship with Maxon, but she also went backwards a lot, so I'm not sure she made any progress at all. The only part I did sort of like was when America tried to brashly reform Illea with just one presentation. Anyone could see it was a dumb idea, but hey, at least we have a heroin with some thoughts on social reform and not just how to plan the next coup d'etat. AND her little social reform presentation led to a nice plot with Maxon's dad being all pissed at her (which, I admit, seems a little random and uncharacteristic, because he always seemed pretty placid in the previous book...but we find out quite a few shocking things about the King in this book, so it looks like he's got some skeletons in his closet), which should be amusing to read about in the next book.
All in all, I liked this book because the characters stayed true and honestly, it's fun to read this type of girly book (I honestly wish she hadn't put the rebels in; it's so unneccessary to the plot. Leave that stuff to the Divergents of the world, please). But I did find it lacking because the plot was slow and now much happened except for the one thing with Marlee, and a few emotional revelations. Hopefully Cass will pick up the pace in the next book, WITHOUT turning America into some soldier. (Cause really, how realistic is that? How many teenage girls do YOU know who could successfully turn into awesome warriors at the drop of a hat?)
Cover: It's pretty nice, I like it better than the first book. I do love the mirrors they put in the covers, it gives it this cool icy feel---and I like that the fact that the girl is wearing a ball gown makes SENSE. Hate when random books have girls in dresses on the front for no apparent reason.
Overall Grade: B+