The Elite: The Selection, Book 2

Book review by
Julie A. Carlson, Common Sense Media
The Elite: The Selection, Book 2 Book Poster Image
Popular with kids
The Selection sequel is more romantic, still superficial.

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 38 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

The Elite digs deeper into political themes, especially how the country of Illea was founded. Although fictional, it discusses topics raging from prejudice to the caste system to helping those less fortunate than yourself.

Positive Messages

Trust yourself and others, treasure the value of friendship, understand the importance of family, and have pride in yourself, and love conquers all.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Despite the fact she constantly worries about her looks and clothes, America Singer is a stand-up heroine, always ready to fight for what she believes in -- whether it's addressing the mistreatment of people within Illea's caste system in Illea or sticking up for a beloved friend who's been wrongfully punished. She also discovers how she can help the people of Illea through her role as a possible princess. America's friend Marlee faces a challenge that makes her stronger. And while Maxon at first comes off as a spoiled rich kid who only wants to fool around, deep down he's kind, caring, and will do anything to protect America. The other romantic interest, Aspen, is equally kind, caring, and protective of her.j


There's more violence in Book 2 than there was in The Selection. The ongoing fight between the Northerners and the Southerners of Illea is getting worse and more vicious. There are battles on the palace grounds in which guards and staff are hurt or killed. Three characters receive corporal punishment -- two for being discovered in a precarious situation, the other is abused by his father. A cat fight occurs between America and fellow competitor Celeste. America gets into a fight with Maxon and pushes him. A kissing scene between Aspen and America is a bit rough and aggressive, with him grabbing her arms and forcing himself on her. The King is nasty and cruel.


Flirting, kissing, caressing.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

America drinks wine at a party.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Elite is the second book in The Selection series, set 100 years in the future. America Singer is still in the televised competition to win the heart of Prince Maxon of Illea -- and the role of his wife. America has many moments of indecision about whether she wants to continue her quest. The Elite is more romantic than the first book, with mild kissing, flirting, and caressing. And there's also more politics and violence -- attacks on the palace in which people are hurt or killed, corporal punishment -- as well as mean-spiritedness and backstabbing by America's fellow contestants.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 11-year-old Written byAFairhopeMom January 2, 2016

Disappointed with her choices

After reading the first book, I was hoping that America would grow up in this one. She has such potential to be a strong role model, but the author doesn'... Continue reading
Adult Written byApril R. February 17, 2016

Great series for a teen girl

As the series progresses, you find the female lead character evolving and maturing while still struggling with her feelings of the process of the selection and... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byrebma97 January 14, 2014

More political

Like the first book, The Elite was very engaging. I did get annoyed with America constantly going back and forth between Aspen and Maxon and getting mad at them... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byTJones123 April 27, 2016


This is an amazing book that teens will love, but i wouldn't recommend it for kids under 13. SPOILER ALERT! There is a scene where America's best frie... Continue reading

What's the story?

America Singer remains in the televised competition to win the hand of Prince Maxon Schreave of Illea -- a contest that's one part The Bachelor and one part The Hunger Games. Her feelings for Maxon are growing, but she still has feelings for her childhood sweetheart, Aspen. Aspen would rather she leave the palace behind and wait for him. But the competition and her greater purpose for being there, including making sure the other catty competitors don't win, makes her want to stay. When America sees a chance to be the wife of Maxon slipping away, she must decide what she really wants, and if what she feels for Maxon is true or just make-believe.

Is it any good?

THE ELITE ups the ante in the romantic department. In the series opener, The Selection, Maxon seems more wooden, but he comes vividly to life in this installment. His love for America is clear, but she's too wishy-washy  about her feelings for him. In one breath she hopes to be with Maxon, in the next pines for Aspen, and readers may get tired of it. Maxon gets tired of it and becomes interested in other competitors, even though he desires America.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the Selection series. Did you read the first book? How does The Elite compare?

  • America becomes jealous when Maxon flirts with and dates the other female competitors, yet she steals kisses with Aspen behind Maxon's back. What do you think of America's double-standard regarding boys and dating?

  • Why do you think stories -- and reality TV shows -- involving competitions to be chosen as a date or spouse are so popular?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love romance and fantasy

Themes & Topics

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