The Elite (The Selection #2) by Kiera Cass (2013), narrated by Amy Rubinate
SO. The group has been narrowed to just six girls, one of which is of course America Singer. One girl is eliminated before we're too far into the book and it is really upsetting, and causes America to have second thoughts about Maxon. But she has other things to worry about, like the assignments the girls must work on now. For one, the girls were divided into two groups and each had to organize a reception for visiting dignitaries. Clearly, now that the girls are narrowed down, they are being tested on how they'd handle being royalty. They need to learn about policy and make decisions and start charitable projects, not unlike the First Lady.
As I had hoped, this novel saw more action with the political situation and world events. The situation with the rebels is brought more to the forefront, and we learn a bit about what they want. America even has a startling encounter with a female rebel.
Last time I mentioned that I was curious about the lack of education in this world, and their seemingly limited access to books. In The Elite it was mentioned that there are no newspapers, only the news show that they all watch. But America gains access to a copy of Gregory Illea's diary and learns some pretty interesting things about him and the history of the kingdom in which she lives.
The romance part of the story involves a lot of waffling, and there are some complaints on Goodreads about the love triangle. But I can see how America would be so torn, because I am also very torn! I have softened up a bit towards Aspen since the last book. He's not so insecure because he joined the military and is working as a palace guard, which makes him a 2 instead of a 6. Of course America is now a 3, so things have changed a lot for them. Anyhow, he and Maxon are both really nice guys and America is 17 so I can believe it would be confusing for her.
I listened to this everywhere. I actually got through the audiobook in just a few days, which is completely crazy. Usually my audiobooks are for my bus commute only, but I also listened at the gym and in the car and at home. It was a bit out of control.
I was concerned about this being a middle book in a trilogy. Sometimes that can just feel like a placeholder, but I do feel like a lot happened. Her relationship with Maxon changed as did her relationship with Aspen, and she is really growing and learning what is important to her and it is more obvious now (to me anyhow) that of course she should be the princess, but at the same time she has kind of screwed things up a bit and it will be harder. She has some people to win over. This book is more about being a princess than marrying a prince, and America spent a lot of time thinking about what aspects she could and could not handle.
Just like after The Selection, I immediately downloaded the next one (I even had to renew my Audible subscription early), so I'm sure I'll post about it quite soon!