June 11, 2014

Book Review: The Elite (The Selection #2) by Kiera Cass

The Elite by Kiera Cass
Publication Date: April 23rd 2013 
Publisher: HarperTeen

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 Illea.

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.

I was born into a Family of Fives – artists and musicians who were generally poorly paid – and though I hated the caste system in general, I liked what I did for a living. It was strange to think of myself as a three, to consider embracing teaching or writing as a profession. 

America has gone so far. From the uncertain girl who was so opposed to The Selection, she did not expect to actually make it to Top 6 or The Elite group. And as the competition continues, the more anxious she is about her status in Maxon’s heart. She knows that Maxon likes her a lot, but would Maxon’s feelings be enough for her to be The One? She knows that there are factors that can contribute to her failure.

There’s the king who is extremely opposed to her being chosen as The One. There are also the people who doesn’t seem to like her spontaneous side and deemed her the least appropriate to be the future Queen. There’s also Aspen. Is she really over him? Who would be there for her if Maxon won’t choose her?

As a possibility of being the new Queen, the Elites are exposed more to the spotlight, always involved in interviews, and activities organized in the palace. They were given tasks that are basically done by the Queen like preparing for a visit from a neighbor estate or a visit from a monarchy they want to befriend. They were asked to head the preparation, like what should be the theme, the colors to be used, the food and wine to be served, the festivities to be included and such. As they work together, they realize just how far each of them will fight just to get the crown.
Time. I was asking for a lot of it these days.

Just as expected, Maxon was being pressured by the King to choose the One and is also being pestered by the Southern Rebels to just drop the Selection. Maxon’s feelings for America grow deeper each day but he’s becoming frustrated and worried that he may not be able to give America enough time to choose.
“Sometimes, I feel like we’re a knot, too tangled to be taken apart.” I nodded. “It’s true, so much of me is tied up in you. I feel kind of lost without you.”
While I may think that what Aspen and America had was true, I think the circumstances that led them to the palace, let them grew apart. And I think, they just wanted to hold on to that love, afraid of what might happen if they cut of the strings that tie them. Part of the reason America still holds on to what she felt toward Aspen, was that, she was afraid. She already has feelings for Maxon, but her insecurity and uncertainty that Maxon may not choose her in the end, enabled her to cling to Aspen. She’s afraid that no one will be there once Maxon dumps her.

Aspen, on the other hand, is a man of word. And I think, the promise he made towards America ties him to her. He doesn’t realized it yet, but she knows America is already falling for Maxon. I guess, he just really wanted America’s forgiveness for all the heartaches he’s caused her.

I just didn’t like how he put a seed of doubt in America’s head, telling her that she cannot be a queen. That she won’t be able to handle the stress that comes with the duties.
I sighed, thinking of everything he’d said last night. I’d never imagined this was possible. How did I, America Singer – a Five, a nobody – fall for Maxon Schreave – a One, the One? How did this happen when I’d spent the last two years bracing myself for life as a six?
If I was the one in America’s shoes, I think I will not react well to the Selection set-up. I mean, if you feel strongly for a man, would you be willing to share him to five other girls considering that the man in question always tell you that are who he wants to be the One?
It turns out I’m absolutely terrible at staying away from you. It’s a very serious problem. 

On Maxon’s part, I think I can also understand where he’s coming from. He is a prince and would need a partner in the future. Why should invest all you time and effort for a girl who is still uncertain of her feelings for you?
I just think that we’d be a good us. We’d be a wonderful us. 
If only, these two people just admitted that they are in love with each other, they could have been saved from all the stupidity they did cause to each other.

Kriss and Maxon. Honestly, I myself is a bit annoyed with them. All of a sudden, he was considering Kriss to be the One. I understand that he want to give others a chance, but it’s so frustrating sometimes. If I’m America, how would I be able to convince myself that he’s really serious with me? Because if he’s really that into me, why would he be eyeing other girls?
“I’ve been so foolish,” I said, my breath catching. I’d fought hard against the tears, but I couldn’t anymore. “I kept letting the crown scare me out of wanting you. I told myself that you didn’t really matter to me. I kept thinking that you had lied to me or tricked me, that you didn’t trust me or care about me enough. I let myself believe that I wasn’t important to you.” 
In the end, I think, that was America and Maxon’s turning point. If two people are really meant to be together, whatever the circumstances are, they’ll find a way to be together again. As the saying says, if there’s a will, there’s a way.
Darling? The word, so tender and personal, enveloped me. In that moment, any desire I had to fight my feelings for Maxon disappeared. I wanted to be his dear, his darling. I wanted to be Maxon’s alone.
Towards the end, America realized how much she wanted Maxon to choose her. She learned that what she really felt towards him runs deeper than what she and Aspen shared. And now that the Selection is nearing its end, she’ll do whatever she can to win Maxon’s heart.

Give me a chance to choose you.

“What’s it like to be in love?” May asked.
Part of me ached. Why hadn’t she ever asked me? Then I remembered, as far as May knew, I’d never been in love.
Lucy’s smile was sad. “It’s the most wonderful and terrible thing that can ever happen to you,” she said simply. “You know that you’ve found something amazing, and you want to hold on to it forever; and every second after you have it, you fear the moment you might lose it.”
I sighed softly. She was absolutely right.
Love is beautiful fear. 
 Kiera Cass

100 Things She Loves:

Being married. Cake. The smell of Autumn. Motherhood. Books. Elephants. Back rubs. On demand movies. Actually going out to movies. Faith. Cinnamon rolls. My family. Butterflies. When my kitchen is clean. Crayons. Pink. Tote bags. Dancing. Organizing via color coordination. That my wedding dress was tea length, not floor. Baking. My house. Writing utensils. Paper. India. The sound of water. Making videos. Buttons. The word Episcopalian. Making people laugh. Layering clothes. British accents. Pinterest. Animation. Fireworks. The smell of the Ocean. My wedding rings. Aprons. Reasons to get dressed up. Sex. Pop music. Stars. Taking walks. Daydreaming. Stickers. School Spirit. My friends. Living in a small town. Japan. Singing. Painting my toenails. Pranks/ practical jokes. Painting. Stretch canvas. Costumes. Dipping my fingers in melted wax. Style. Soda. Spending an hour typing at a coffee shop. Musicals. Back to school season. Mopeds. Good hair days. Naps. Not walking up but looking at a beautiful staircase. Driving alone. My ankles. Playlists. Spending entire days in pajamas. Holidays. Telling stories. Spontaneity. Theme parks. Bookshelves. The word copacetic. Boxes. Empty journals. Surprises. Doing things in groups. Doing things alone. Getting real mail. Decorating. Small forks. A good hug. Gift cards. New Years Goals. Going out to dinner. When someone else remembers some great story about me/us that I’ve forgotten. Toy stores. Fireplaces. Breakfast foods. Journaling. Crying for a good reason. Doorbells. Pointless adventures. Voting. My birthday. Reasons to make wishes. Recycling.


 

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