Re-Review: The Selection & The Elite (The Selection Trilogy #1 & #2) by Kiera Cass



In preparation for midnight – i’ve decided that i needed to re-read the series to make sure that i’m 100% up to speed on where things were going in America and Maxon’s life.  I always like to see what i pick up on the 2nd time around to be honest, there’s a lot that i don’t see the first time that makes the story even better the second time around.

As you’ll all remember, Prince Maxon is coming of age, and he now has to choose a wife – meaning that 35 girls are chosen in The Selection to vie for his affections.  America – a lowly 5 in the cast system finds herself among the girls chosen and it means that her world is turned upside down.  Not only does she have to move away from her family, she’s also trying to deal with the fact that the boy that she loved, a six named Aspen has chosen to ‘break up’ with her, and she now has nothing back home to stay for – at least aside from her family.

Where we go in the first installment is on the journey of America learning that there’s so much more out there than she ever knew, and realizing that if she lets herself participate then she can grow even more.  She is hesitant to participate in the Selection, and even approaches Maxon with an idea that she will be his ‘best friend’ and confidant if he lets her stay, and when he agrees, she’s put at ease, finds that she’s got an amazing friend in him (maybe more?) and that she’s free to make friends with some of the girls that are there as well.

With the country being attacked though, things are always in turmoil and that’s where the girls are weeded out.  At the end of book 1, we are quickly taken down to the Elite, meaning that Maxon has sent quite a few girls home.  True to his word, America stays – and things grow even more between them….but…..

Aspen, the boy from back home has been drafted into the guards and has been posted to the palace, so America’s life gets even more complicated.  Where we go in book 2 is the journey with them, with America unsure about which boy to be with, about Maxon professing his feelings some moments, and being guarded at others, and Aspen becoming even more of a distraction.

The issue that i have with book 2 is the same that i’ve had all along, America tends to be a bit whiney, even for a 17 year old….and she’s so unsure of what she wants that it makes me cringe from time to time.  I see some amazing potential with her, but i don’t know if she’ll allow it to come through and because of her temper, impatience and youth, she finds herself in a very bad situation at the end, with the king getting angry and her bags being packed.

So….tonight, at midnight when i’m finally able to download the finale of the series – i can’t wait to see what happens . There are a bunch of questions that i have

1) Who will Maxon choose?  it’s so uncertain now

2) what will happen to America?

3) what will happen to Aspen?

4) What’s the connection to Italy and what will it mean to the future?

5) what are the rebels really after and who will survive?

6) honestly, who’s in with the rebels, since i have a feeling that someone we know and ‘trust’ isn’t necessarily on the up and up.

so…just a few more hours and i’ll get my answers.  Enjoy – and if you haven’t read the first 2, the covers above link you to buy – so you have time to read before The One comes out.

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


Title: The Elite 
Author: Kiera Cass
Publisher/Year: Harper Collins 4/23/13
Length: 323 pages
Series: The Selection #2

I had been waiting far too long for this 2nd installment to come out and finally – yesterday came and i was a happy camper.  I really wanted to take time away from work to read but of course that never happens.  So, finally when i got home around 8p i was able to pick up the book, and read it straight through to the end.

The Plot:  We pick up the story coming out of the ending of The Selection where Prince Maxon has decided that because of the rebel attacks, he was going to skip some of the individual eliminations and go straight to narrowing down the group to The Elite 6.  Because America wasn’t fully sure where she stood with Maxon and her feelings towards Aspen, she didn’t know if she was for certain staying, however we all know that Maxon has significant feelings for her and she was the final girl chosen to remain.  So this is where the story starts off.

The girls, Celeste, Elise, Natalie, Marlee, Kriss and America are the remaining girls.  Instead of such casual activities, the girls are asked to take on more and more in preparation for one to be the princess.  They are given ‘projects’ to show if they are able to handle and understand the responsibilities that they will undertake as well as allow the royals to see which girl the country feels best about.  (since we know it’s not all about how maxon feels, it’s really about the puppet-master his father).

As the story progresses, we see that Maxon continues to be completely ‘in love’ with America and gives her far more attention than he does anyone else.  America is completely confused about what she wants since she’s decided that she’s going to see where her relationship with Maxon goes, but she’s still connected to Aspen since he’s not willing to give up.  It’s really hard and we see some of the 17 yr old angst come out with America.  In this story much more than in The Selection, she tends to be a bit wishy washy and i actually wanted to smack her a bit.

Going back to the girls for a second, we know that Celeste is vying for the crown more than Maxon which is fine, Elise realizes (some what) that she’s there for her ties to New Asia, Natalie and Kriss are there because they are ‘nice’ and America is there for ‘passion’   If you remember back to the Selection, Marlee and America had some tension and the reason behind it comes out more in The Elite.  you get real clarity on what’s going on there and it makes for a great story and tense scene.

So as this story progresses, we see relationships really changing.  We see that Maxon really wants things to work with America but she keeps going back and forth, because she’s jealous, because Aspen is in her head about things (good and bad) and she’s really uncertain of herself (which is totally fair).

Where this story leaves us off is a cliff hanger of sorts.  personally, i’m rooting for The One (book 3) to go a certain way however i’m not sure what’s going to happen. i kind of hope that it’s a REALLY LONG final book of the trilogy since there’s a lot that needs to be resolved.

So back to the format that i had in some earlier reviews, here are my questions:

1) Who does maxon choose?  America, Celeste and Kriss seem to be front runners

2) Who does America choose?  Maxon or Aspen

3) Do we think that Maxon is playing games with everyone? or is he true to what we see?

4) is Maxon’s father the king like Gergory Illea?  Is that somethign to worry about?

5) what are the rebels searching for?  why do they keep attacking and will everyone be safe?

6) Will America use the phone number that she got from the Italians for anything and how will that help since Italy isn’t quite an ally yet?

so many questions  – and we have to wait until 2014 i think for answers.  happy reading!

Review; The Prince (A selection Novella #1.5) by Kiera Cass



Title: The Prince (a Selection Novella)
Author: Kiera Cass
Publisher/Year: Harper Collins 2013
Length: 64 pages
Series: The Selection #1.5

True to the very helpful form of YA books lately, we’re given a glimpse (albeit a brief one) into The Selection via Maxon’s POV.  It’s nice to see it for a change, and it gives you a better sense of who he is.

Since you’re all probably pretty familiar with Maxon, America and the other girls in the group, what we get here that’s not so familiar is a little bit of the back story on Maxon and where his apprehensions come from.

The story opens up on Maxon’s 19th birthday, when he’s deemed old enough to select a wife, and there’s a party being thrown in his honor.  If that wasn’t pressure enough, he has to engage in a bit of small talk with his father who truly believes that Maxon is incapable of doing anything that’s worthy of recognition and takes every opportunity that he can to belittle him.  Through this conversation, Maxon actually learns that the lottery that the Selection is based off of isn’t that at all, and to his dismay, the girls are all selected by his father for what the women can do for Illea.  (all except 3 girls who are 5s because their provinces didn’t have anyone of higher caste worth including, and this adds to the diversity of the competition – or so his father the king says).  This is an interesting fact because where we were under the impression in The Selection that it wasn’t 100% a fair lottery (given that there were photos included and all that) but there was no chance of randomness at all.  America’s inclusion was partly intentional, yet not as fully intended as the other girls.

So, this story takes us through the days leading up to the arrival of the girls and then through that first day when Maxon meets all 35 and learns of the trade that America is willing to make.

I can’t wait for a few more days to see whether he continues his plight with America or if we see what he felt with Celeste grow, especially since we know that he was so willing to stick up for her against America’s argument in The Selection.

On to Tuesday – we’ll know more then!

Re-Review: The Selection (The Selection #1) by Kiera Cass


Title: The Selection
Author: Kiera Cass
Publisher/Year: Harper Collins 2013
Length: 327 pages
Series: The Selection #1

With the release of The Elite Book 2 in the series coming out this Tuesday, i felt that i owed it to myself to reread the first installment into the story so that i’m fully up to speed.  It’s The Bachelor meets all things Dystopia and i think that it’s exactly what i needed.

Who are our Characters

America:  She’s the female lead in this story and we get everything from her POV.  She lives in a province known as the Carolinas in what is now knows as ‘Illea’ which is the result of what the USA has become after 4 world wars and being taken over by a chinese invasion.  As we expect in stories that are of a dystopian nature, there is a class or caste system and in this situation, America’s family is a Five which is on the lower end of the scale.  (ones are royalty, 2 are wealthy, on and on until you get to 8 which are homeless.  5’s barely get by and while they don’t suffer as much as 6s who often don’t have enough to eat, they certainly aren’t comfortable in life).

Aspen:  He is the initial love interest for America in this story.  He’s a little bit older than she is which is great, however his family is in a lower caste – they are 6’s and that means that it would be a bad idea for America and Aspen to be involved.  They have been ‘in love’ though for about 2 years now at the onset of the story and find themselves in a happy yet secret place.

Maxon (Prince Maxon):  he is the focus for all things that change from a few chapters in.  As society is trying to rebuild, it’s determined that if there is a daughter born to royalty, they are married off to another country to forge bonds.  If there is a son however, they go through ‘The Selection’ where 35 women are selected (1 from each province) and it is the Prince’s job to select one to be his wife.  It’s in fact the same way that his father the King found his wife.  (and they are quite happy together).

So….the story opens up basically with notices going out to all homes that have daughters that are deemed ‘of age’ to participate in The Selection, and while America has no intention of participating since she’s in love with Aspen, she’s convinced both by her mother (through a bribe of sorts) and by Aspen (through guilt) to participate.  She puts in her application and low and things go from there.  Just when things couldn’t get any worse, because America figured that she had no chance since she’s just a 5, she’s chosen from her province, Aspen decides that things shouldn’t continue between them (because of his male pride/ego) and off she goes.

We find out quite quickly that America is a fan favorite and is great competition.  while she’s still heart broken over what Aspen has done to her, she’s not ready to jump head first into the chance that she could fall in love with Prince Maxon.  As a result, she’s decided that maybe she could become a friend to Maxon and in turn, stay on through the competition long enough to benefit her family (they get financial support for the length of time that their child is in contention), and Maxon agrees.  Mind you, his motives aren’t so platonic.  From the moment that he meets America, she yells at him, thinks ill of him, yet he’s drawn to her.  He likes that she doesn’t treat him as everyone else does, and there’s a spark that he feels.

So the quest throughout this book is Maxon trying to figure out if there’s anything between him and America, if there’s another girl that ‘does it for him’, and to make people take him seriously as a leader of Illea.

When things seem like they still can’t get worse, there have been multiple rebel attacks on the palace, a new rotation of guards….and Aspen shows up among those guards.  Enter LOVE TRIANGLE.  couldn’t expect anything else from a YA book right?

so, that puts a crimp in things because we just don’t know where America’s head is, if it’s going to make a difference, and what will happen to Maxon since we’re assuming that his decisions will be important for the safety not only of those in the palace but for the country.

So here are my questions for The Elite (book 2)

1) will America make a choice between Maxon and Aspen?  (who will it be and what will the repercussions be)

2) Will Aspen make things uncomfortable for America while she’s deciding what she wants?

3) will the rebels break through and will something horrible happen to the girls, the royals or Maxon/America?

4) who will Maxon choose?

there are so many more questions, so i’ll have to wait until Tuesday to know how things turn out.