The Elite (novel)
The Elite is the second novel in the best-selling Selection series by Kiera Cass. It is narrated by America Singer, a 17-year-old girl who is selected to compete with 34 other girls to become Prince Maxon's wife and become queen. The Elite tells the story at the stage in the competition where there are only six girls left and tensions are high from both the competition and the dangerous rebels.
|Published||23 April 2013|
|Preceded by||The Selection|
|Followed by||The One|
The book takes place 300 years in the future in a country called Illéa (formerly the United States) that has a strict caste system. The castes range from eight to one, with Eights being the homeless and Ones being the royal family. Prince Maxon has narrowed down his selection candidates to an Elite of six girls: America, Kriss, Celeste, Elise, Natalie, and Marlee. Maxon must find a wife among these girls. In order to do so, Maxon meets their families and throws a Halloween Ball, at America's suggestion. At the ball, Maxon and America dance and he tells her that he will propose to her after the Selection at the right time so that it is easy for her to say yes. America feels sure about marrying Maxon. After the ball, it is discovered that Marlee has been having a secret affair with one of the guards, and as a consequence, is severely caned, a horrible form of whipping. The episode results in her becoming an Eight. Upset and angry that Maxon would let such a thing happen to Marlee, America reconsiders her feelings for Maxon. Then, the girls must plan an event and are split into two teams: America and Kriss, and Natalie, Celeste, and Elise. After much planning, America and Kriss's reception with the Italian Royalty is successful. Celeste shows America an article which shows that she is now the least favorite, and Celeste is the highest. After this, Maxon asks to speak with America. He shows her the Princess' suite as well as her best friend, Marlee. The two girls talk about Marlee's new life, where she cooks in the kitchen and has married Carter Woodwork, the former guard. Maxon and King Clarkson go to New Asia and plan to stay at Elise's parents house. The palace ends up losing connection with the king and Maxon. They return. America is later crushed when she sees Maxon kissing a half-naked Celeste in the hallway. She later angrily confronts him, asking to leave. However, he rejects her request. For their next project, the girls must give a presentation that will be broadcast on The Report. America, after reading secret diaries of Gregory Illéa, the first king, presents the idea that the castes should be eliminated. She attempts to answer questions by showing the diary. Immediately, the outraged king shuts down the report, takes the diary from her and demands she returns home. However, Maxon insists she stays, leaving his father infuriated. The Southern Rebels then attack the palace and America runs into Maxon leaving the hospital wing on her way to the gardens. He is acting weird and seems to be in pain. They get locked in a safe room and Maxon is forced to tell America that his father had whipped him after America’s stunt on “The Report” and she cleans him up. She asks Maxon what the other scars are for and he says they were for things he had said, done, or known. He reveals that it has been happening for a while. They talk about their feelings and Maxon explains his interactions with Celeste and him becoming close to Kriss. They kiss and imply that they love each other. Once America thinks she is going home, she realizes how much Maxon means to her and that she is going to fight for him and his love once he convinces his father to give her one last chance to behave.
- America Singer - The protagonist and narrator of the novella and a member of the Elite competing for Prince Maxon's hand. America is 17 years old and has fiery red hair and ice-blue eyes. She is very important to Maxon. She was born a Five, giving her the job of a musician. She is described as feisty. She likes to be independent 
- Maxon Schreave - Prince of Illéa, he must eventually decide which of the Elite to select as a wife. He enjoys photography and is blonde..
- Aspen Leger - A palace guard and America's ex-boyfriend. He has dark hair and was formerly a Six.
- Marlee Tames - A member of the Elite and best friend of America, she harbors a secret. She is blonde and described by America as bubbly. Formerly a Four.
- Kriss Ambers - A member of the Elite. She has brown hair and is a Three. America remarks that Kriss has grown closer to Maxon throughout the course of the book.
- Elise Whisks - A member of the Elite who has family connections to New Asia, a country that Illéa is at war with.
- Natalie Luca - A member of the Elite who deals with a family tragedy (her sister was killed by rebels). She is blonde and viewed by America as someone who has her head in the clouds.
- Celeste Newsome - A member of the Elite, she is a Two and worked as a model. Celeste is a brunette. Celeste and America do not get along and are often in conflict.
- Clarkson Schreave - King of Illéa and Maxon's father, he is often seen as strict. The girls react with fear when he gets angry. America dislikes him.
- Amberly Schreave - Queen of Illéa and Maxon's mother. She is from the south and was a Four until she married King Clarkson at the end of his Selection. She is described as kind by America.
- Carter Woodwork - A former palace guard, once caught in an affair with Marlee and made into an Eight.
The book received mixed critical reviews. Kirkus Reviews called it "vapid", but they also described the book as a "fast read." The Elite has an editor ranking of 4.5 out of 5 stars on YA Books Central. The book was reviewed favorably by some consumers with a user rating on YA Books Central of 4.1 out of 5 stars. The book was well received commercially. The week of May 12, 2013 it was number one on The New York Times Best Sellers List for the Young Adult Category. The novel also performed well in ibook sales ranking at 9 in the Children's and Teen Category the week of May 25, 2014. As of May 11, 2014 The Elite, together with The Selection, has sold over 800,000 copies. Also, 26 territories have the rights to the series.
- "Best Sellers". The New York Times. The New York Times. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
- Roth, Elana (25 March 2013). "The Elite". Publishers Weekly. 260 (12): 71. ISSN 0000-0019.
- Accomando, Beth. "Kiera Cass: A Natural Selection". comic-con. The Toucan Blog. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
- "The Elite (The Selection #2)". YA and Kids Books Central. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
- "The Elite". Kirkus Reviews. 81 (6): 69. 15 March 2013. ISSN 1948-7428.
- Cass, Kiera (2013). The Elite. New York: HarperTeen. ISBN 9780062059963.
- "Literary Listings". Chicago Sun Times. Chicago Sun Times. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
- Brissey, Breia. "'The Elite': Kiera Cass talks about the sequel to 'The Selection'". EW. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
- "iBooks Bestsellers". Publishers Weekly. 261 (22): 19. 2 June 2014. ISSN 0000-0019.
- "America Singer's Swan Song...Maybe". Publishers Weekly. 261 (20): 17. 12 May 2014. ISSN 0000-0019.