The Elite by Kiera Cass.
Other elements: Reality tv, Princes, social strata, rebels, lies, beauty.
Read it: if you want to know what happened after the first book and don’t mind that it’s not going to be dazzlingly written.
Overall rating: 4/10
This book is a lot like its prequel, The Selection, but slightly worse. It tries to be darker, but it can’t really manage it. The characters are too dumb, especially the protagonist, America Singer. The political aspects of the universe the story takes place in are also too poorly defined for the reader to get a sense of the greater implications of the rebellion that begins to reach the castle where America is living. It’s unclear what the risks are. It’s also hard to get worked up over rebel forces if you don’t know where they’re coming from, what they want, or who they are beyond “Northern rebels” or “Southern rebels.”
This second book also attempts to focus one the love triangle between America, the Prince, and America’s hometown love, but (at the risk of being overly harsh) America’s reactions to the situation are so simplistic that she comes off as simply indecisive, or perhaps not bright enough to fully understand the difference between her swains. Love triangles have been popular in recent YA fiction (Hunger Games, Mortal Instruments, etc.) and they’re gloriously entertaining and painful when written well. This one is not. America prefers whoever is paying attention to her at the time, and that is that.
I’ll say this, though: this book has a pretty cover.