The Elite and The One, by Kiera Cass

eliteThe Selection’s The Elite and The One
by Kiera Cass
Pub Date April 23, 2013 & May 6, 2014

In my first post, I wrote about The Selection by Kiera Cass. In my crazy desire to read all sorts of princess stories, I couldn’t forget the next two books in The Selection series. I also had to write about them together since I read the two books in two days- I literally went back to the library on my day off just to get The One after I finished The Elite in one night. I couldn’t put it down until I knew what happened between America Singer and Prince Maxon.

 

The oneFor those of you who haven’t read the series, The Selection is based in a future America where our current government has collapsed and is now a monarchy that separates the population into eight castes, each with a different type of job and social standing, from the top number one being royalty and the bottom eight being peasants. When the prince is of marrying age, a competition is held where 35 girls from different castes and areas of the country are sent to compete for the prince’s hand in marriage. America Singer, a number five caste member, is chosen to compete in the selection for Prince Maxon’s hand in marriage.

Reading these books, I found myself incredibly grateful that dating is not like this in reality, similar to the reality tv show The Bachelor where one guy (or girl depending on the season) goes on dates with multiple people and it is expected that he will kiss, if not all of the candidates, most of them. What a weird dating ritual: hanging out all day long with girls who are competing with you for one guy and all the power and wealth he will share with you. America has to figure out if she truly loves Maxon and if she can be a proper princess before loses Maxon forever.

Honestly, America Singer drove me crazy, which is one of the reasons I truly loved this series. In the tv series The Bachelor, no one really questions whether or not being chosen is a good thing. Yet, America questions it all the time. She is a realistic girl with confidence issues who often compares herself to others. She is confused about what she wants and what she can handle. Throughout the series, you can see her confidence grow, although she is constantly making her relationship with Maxon more complicated. Dangerous revolutions, political intrigue, and secret associations are a constant part of this budding romance, and I could not drag myself away from these books. I am so excited for the 5th book in this series to come out this May.

The Selection, by Kiera Cass

SelectionThe Selection
by Kiera Cass
Pub Date: April 24, 2012

I have always loved princess stories. I guess it goes back to childhood when my mother called me “her princess” and I dreamed of meeting a Disney princess. I devour books like Shannon Hale’s Goose Girl, Gail Carson Levine’s Ella Enchanted, and Margaret Peterson Haddix’s Just Ella. I also enjoy dystopian novels like Hunger Games, The Giver, and Divergent. When the teens at my library told me about a new dystopian series that is also a princess story, I knew I needed to read this. I am not disappointed.

America Singer, the protagonist, lives in a future America but with a different government and a different name, similar to Hunger Games. Unlike Hunger Games, there is not a horrible game where children murder each other every year. Instead, there is a game of “who will be princess?” every two decades or so. Thirty-five single, young women are chosen from around the country to live at the palace until the prince and future king chooses one to be his bride. Kind of a future royal version of the tv show The Bachelor, this one is called “The Selection.”

I enjoyed getting to know America Singer. She is a strong, intelligent protagonist who has a lot to learn about herself and the people around her. I also really liked Prince Maxim. He takes his role as future king seriously, including finding his future queen in the selection. Still, he is a kind, responsible, regular kind of guy with a great sense of humor. I especially love watching their relationship develop, although sometimes I couldn’t believe all that Prince Maxim forgives America for.

This is a book I have recommended to one of my favorite mature ten year olds all the way up to adults looking for a fun new series. The romance does not move beyond kissing, there wasn’t any swearing, and any violence happens behind the scenes. I definitely recommend it as a book for both mothers and daughters who want an entertaining romance without having to worry about skipping pages or words.