Book ReviewThe Elite

Reviewer's Rating: 
This book was so good I'm going to throw a brick through the bookstore window so I can have my own hardcover copy RIGHT NOW!
Harper Teen, 2013

BOOK TWO: THE SELECTION SERIES. The Selection began with 35 girls.  Now, with the group narrowed down to the Elite, the competition to win Prince Maxon's love is fiercer than ever.  The closer America gets to the crown, the more she struggles to figure out where her heart truly lies.  Each moment she spends with Maxon is like a fairy tale, filled with breathless, glittering romance.  But whenever she sees her first love, Aspen, standing guard, she's swept up in longing for the life they'd planned to share.

America is desperate for more time.  But while she's torn between her two futures, the rest of the Elite know exactly what they want-and America's chance to choose is about to slip away.

My worry with a second book - when I've completely loved the first in a series - is that the author changes something.  Let's face it, when you've been an obscure hopeful there is something fresh and new about your storytelling.  After the success of a first novel you have a team of people helping you 'improve' and 'grow' as a writer.  I tend to feel a bit disappointed in second novels, BUT NOT THIS ONE! :)  I loved Elite as much, if not more than The Selection.  Woo hoo!

My reaction to these books reminds me a bit of how involved I was when reading the Hunger Games series.  When you try to tell people about the premise of the books - or even read the synopsis of Elite, it comes across as offensive to females in general (it's a meat market for the prince), and truly fluffy in content - which boy will she choose?  Who cares, right?  I DO!  ME!  RIGHT HERE!

There is an indefinable finger of tension and suspense that reaches up from the pages and pulls you into a worm hole of sorts.  There is nothing that exists outside of reading through these pages.  The intensity is surprising to me and I am honestly unable to find the words to describe just where it comes from.  At one point, I battled tears - yes, real ones! at a wicked turn of events for one of the characters, but I pulled myself together because I was reading next to my daughter, also engrossed in her book.  I could envision her noticing me upset and becoming concerned so I told myself to just keep reading, I'm sure it'll be resolved.  Another proof of the pudding of this book was when I made myself the perfect hot cup of tea to enjoy while reading the final 1/4 of the book.  When I closed the back cover a few hours later I turned and saw my stone cold up of tea still waiting.  I'd completely forgotten it!  Nobody comes between me and a perfect cup of tea - but this book did.

My daughter asked if I thought she would love these books as much as I did (when she's old enough to read them).  I replied I wasn't sure.  I grew up on princess stories.  I loved princess stories (especially the Princess and the Pea).  I played dress up and was always the princess.  I'm reading from the perspective of a wannabe princess for most of my childhood whereas she has had a different focus - most likely a more mature one!  It made me think of the wider audience as a whole for author Kiera and I hope for her sake these books do well.  After all, I can't believe I am the only princess walking around disguised as an ordinary person!

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