(The Selection #2)
By Kiera Cass
The hotly-anticipated sequel to the New York Times bestseller The Selection.
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.
My rating: 4.25/5
I really should have read this series in the correct order because I did feel a little confused about the selection and Americas background. But it was not too difficult to follow. I liked the idea of the competition to become the next princess and that it wasn't just about who looks the best for the prince. The tasks were quite interesting and I was especially proud of America when she spoke out about the unfairness of the castes.
In terms of Maxon and Aspen, I was team aspen until the end. I couldn't help But doubt Maxon's character. Aspen is so genuine and understanding but then Maxon has so much responsibility and pressure on him so maybe that's why he behaves as he does. Plus he did take care of Marlee after her severe punishment and exile...
I believe that America has the potential to make a change if she wins, she certainly has the drive and determination to want things to change but in order to win she needs to fight the odds against her, which includes the King's dislike.
Celeste is clearly too scheming and manipulative. Kriss is sweet and it's sad she's in love with Maxon; she really would make a brilliant second choice.
The Elite was definitely interesting, and had the reality-show-turned-TV-series feel to it. There was plenty of drama, and whilst most girls were fiercely competing for Maxon's attentions, America was fighting within herself to decide what she truly desires. Now that she finally realises the extent to which Maxon will suffer for her, I fear the evil king will do something to ruin America's chances.
"I know," I said, placing a hand on his chest, letting myself forget for a moment all that we were risking. "But that doesn't change where we are or that I'm an Elite now. I need time, Aspen."
He reached up to hold my hand in his and nodded. "I can give you that. Just...try to find some time for me, too."
Time. I was asking for a lot of it these days. I hoped that if I had enough, everything would somehow fall into place.
In truth, I hadn't even thought about Aspen in the last week or so. I was so consumed by my mistimed words and mistaken guesses, I couldn't consider anything else. And here, while I'd been worried about Maxon, letting me go, Aspen had been worrying about me doing the same to him.
"And if you don't get to be princess then, so what? That doesn't make you any less incredible. And you know...you know..." He couldn't get out what he wanted to say, and I risked looking at his face.
In Aspen's eyes I saw a thousand different endings to that sentence, all of them connecting him to me. That he was still waiting for me. That he knew me better than anyone. That we were the same. That a few months at the palace couldn't erase two years. No matter what, Aspen would always be there for me.
"I know, Aspen. I do."
I signed. "Actually, Mom, we argue pretty regularly."
"What?" She gaped at me. "Well, stop it!"
"Oh, and I kneed him in the groin once."There was a split second of silence before May barked a laugh. She covered her mouth and tried to stop, but it kept coming out in awkward, squeaky sounds. Dad's lips were pressed together, but I could tell he was on the verge of losing it himself. Mom was paler than snow.
"America, tell me you're joking. Tell me you didn't assault the prince."
I didn't know why, but the word assault pushed us all over the edge; and May, Dad and I bent over laughing as Mom stared at us.
He shrugged. "It's just the way it is. The sky is blue, the sun is bright, and Aspen endlessly loves America. It's how the world was designed to be..."
I was determined to pour myself into this and hopefully produce something that might genuinely make a difference. Maybe I'd still lose in the long run; maybe I wouldn't even want to win. But I would be as close to a princess as I possibly could, and I would make my peace with the Selection.
America, he'd said, I don't think you can change history. To which I replied, Sure we can. Besides, who'd ever know about it but you and me?
I wiped the tears away and assessed the situation. I was done with Maxon, but I was still here. I was done with the competition, but I still had a presentation due. Aspen might not think I was tough enough to be a princess- and he was right- but he did have faith in me. I knew that. And so did my father. And so did Nicoletta.
I wasn't here to win anymore. So how could I go out with a bang?
This was it. This was good-bye.
"You've changed me forever. And I'll never forget you." I ran my free hand down his chest, straightening his coat.
"Don't tug your ear with anyone else. That's mine." I gave him a tight smile.
"A lot of things are yours, America."
"...You were the one who changed us when you left me in the tree house; and you keep thinking that if you push hard enough, you can make everything go back to before that moment. It doesn't work that way. Give me a chance to choose you."