Higher Stakes: A Review of THE ELITE by Kiera Cass

The Elite (The Selection, #2) 
Kiera Cass
323 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: April 23rd, 2012
Source: ARC from Publisher
Rating: LIKED

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.

  In THE SELECTION, thirty-five girls came to the palace. The Elite, as they are called, are only a fraction who remain. And while America is still in the game, she’s faced with a different problem – can she be a princess?

  THE ELITE had some frightening scenes, amping up from the fluffy dresses and petty arguments between the contestants in THE SELECTION. But while the stakes were higher, the writing was the same as in THE SELECTION. It was simply not as good as you’d expect – so much so that you can’t take the plotline seriously. At least, that’s how I felt throughout the book. THE ELITE, like THE SELECTION, has an incredible storyline, but the execution is where Kiera Cass is lacking.

  Another downside: America acts rashly in the latest installment. It was more annoying than anything else, but everything ties down nicely in the end.

  One area in which Kiera Cass excelled: in making me as torn as America. Right when America (and I) start to think Aspen is the right choice, Maxon flips our wrong thoughts right – making him perfect. And right when we begin to think a life with Maxon would be the one, he ruins it, or Aspen does. It’s a whole back-and-forth dilemma I really enjoyed.

  THE ELITE has less eliminations than THE SELECTION did – of course, there are way less girls now than then. But I did expect one more than the actual number. But this has made me all the more tensed for the third and final installment in Kiera Cass’s debut trilogy. And while THE SELECTION focused more on beauty and girls and getting them to eliminate one another, THE ELITE focuses more on the world – the war, rebels, and more importantly, the history. Which just so happens to be uglier than I thought.

  In the end, despite the writing that irked me, the plotline won me over. I am beyond excited to see how everything – and everyone – ends up in the last book. I’ve got no expectations and no special hopes – I just need to see how it ends!

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Hafsah Faizal is a YA author, designer, and blogger. Her designs have graced the sites of New York Times bestselling authors, bloggers, and more. She resides in Texas, with her family.



  1. Reply


    May 1, 2013

    YAY for good plot! That's what I want in a book. I loved The Selection (i looked pass the pretty girly dress on the cover) and I can't wait to read The Elite and after that, ofcourse The One :)
    Love the review!

  2. Reply


    May 1, 2013

    I just finished this book and I agree with you about your feelings toward Maxon and Aspen. I was firmly on Team Maxon during the first book but this one definitely made me rethink that a few times. There were a lot of twists and turns that made me wonder which guy was really right for America. Americia was also all over the place in this book and did some things that had me shaking my head, but all in all I'm happy with what we learned in this book and I can't wait for the next one. Thanks for the great review :)

  3. Reply


    May 1, 2013

    This sounds promising!! I wanted to read this one just to see where this series goes. The premise is fascinating. I hope I like it as much!

  4. Reply

    The Princess of Storyland

    May 2, 2013

    Another series I haven't started yet, but your making me want to! Great review!

  5. Reply

    Julia :)

    May 3, 2013

    This is totally how I feel about these books! The writing is mediocre, but the plotline keeps me hooked. Gotta love the catty drama of girls fighting for the crown ehhhh? :D

    Julia @ That Hapa Chick

  6. Reply

    Jaime Lester

    May 4, 2013

    After reading some really nasty reviews of The Selection, I honestly did not know if I would read it. But I found a copy at my local library, and decided to go for it. I am glad that I did. It wasn't perfection by any means, but it was an enjoyable story and it made me excited for this installment. And the one thing that makes me really excited about The Elite is that it is meatier. The last book was great, but it was 98% fluff. I am looking forward to getting more truth out of this one. I am happy that despite the not so stellar writing, the book is still good.

  7. Reply

    Melissas Eclectic Bookshelf

    May 6, 2013

    I really need to pick up The Selection…I was so against it when it first came out but I am more and more tempted as the months go by to check it out! Great review!

  8. Reply

    Irene Jennings

    June 10, 2013

    I think I'll read the last book if the reviews are good. Otherwise I might pass on it and just wiki the end or something. I'm not very good at reading the last book in series anyway though, lol!

    Irene Jennings of Vacation Rentals in Seattle