The ELITE continues the story of America Singer, Prince Maxon, and Aspen. This fast-paced 2nd book in The Selection trilogy explored more fully what it would be like if America became the Princess.
The one flaw I found with the story in this book was the part where Maxon is caught making out with Celeste. When America and Maxon finally talk and he forces her to hear his side of what happened, he basically blows it off as wanting a moment of enjoyment. All this time, Maxon is supposed to be in love with America, wanting her to choose him, and while he is in a difficult position with trying to choose a bride, he basically admits to using Celeste without a care for any of the other girls. It made me think of how royalty (and politicians) have been in the past with mistresses and I wondered if Maxon would be the type to finally get America only to cheat on her with a mistress just because. That incident really lowered my opinion of Maxon and it was rather unbelievable that America would accept it so willingly when she would get so jealous of mere looks between Maxon and Kriss, especially when Kriss and Maxon had never even kissed yet. I know that the thought is that American "let it go" (ha, ha, had to throw that in there!) because she was in a similar predicament with sneaking to see Aspen and kissing him and cuddling with him, but if she truly felt anything for Maxon, the scene where he is explaining himself and she accepts it just does not ring true to me. Plus, I think she would question his loyalty to her if she did choose him and they ended up together.
The other odd thing about Maxon is that he is supposed to have little to no experience with women, yet seems to handle all these strange, new women with ease. He flirts, he kisses, he takes them on dates, he finesses them... it seems to be effortless for him to connect and make these women fall in love with him (or his crown).
The OTHER thing that felt off was the whole competition for a philanthropic idea and how America struggled so hard to come up with something. Come on, America! You have Illea's diary in your hands, you are a 5, you have witnessed your best friend and her boyfriend being caned, you've witnessed all sorts of things in the caste system that are unfair and unjust and yet you can't think of a single thing? And then, when she does think of a "thing," it's so big she has no idea or plan to implement it and when asked how it would be implemented doesn't even have a single suggestion.
I felt like the scene was there for shock and awe and to make the King mad at her and make the fact he wants her gone clear, but it felt more like it emphasized how NOT prepared America is to deal with a role as a political power or someone with SOME political power.
Even Maxon quickly attempted to solve the starving people problem in THE SELECTION by reducing the pay the Selected were receiving from the King and giving it to the lower castes for food.
Anyway, I still love the series, but those were the parts that left me scratching my head.
Oh! And the bracelet. I can't leave that out. What is up with the bracelets? Is this another Twilight thing? First America is given a button from Aspen's uniform that she fashions into a bracelet. Maxon notices it on her one day but says nothing. WE know he see's it though and are now waiting for him to ask where it came from, why she is wearing it, SOMETHING and to finally have Aspen outed as her ex. Nothing happens though. Instead, Maxon goes on a trip and brings back a bracelet that is from HIM and she puts it on her other wrist. Then, later, she breaks it, throws it at Maxon, etc. and then when they kiss and make up, he is putting it back on her wrist OVER the bracelet Aspen gave her. Again, nothing asked or said about Aspen's bracelet. I can only assume that in THE ONE something will come to a head over this whole bracelet thing, because otherwise why would it keep coming up?
Also, this is just my own thing, but I wonder if America's dad has any part in the whole rebels coming to steal books? She told her dad about the books when she wasn't supposed to tell anyone, so it stands to reason he is a part of the rebels and trying to find those books for a rebellion to try to overthrow things, but again, not much is said about the books. In fact, what is said is along the lines of they might be using them to make fires. Now, given that so many of the scenes take place outside in the gardens, I am left wondering why they would need fires to keep warm when it doesn't sound like it is cold. America seems to be pretty dense when it comes to the whole book thing and the importance of the books and the history. Anyway, it will be interesting to see where that storyline goes.