Here's the summary from Goodreads: 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 Iléa. 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.
What I Liked: 1) I am Team Maxon. All the way. I think he's sweet, and funny, and a little bit nerdy. Very endearing. The innocence that he had when we first met him in The Selection has gradually faded as he's come to know some of the girls participating in The Selection, and I think his character growth has been wonderful. Yes, okay, he gets a little...egotistical, especially towards the end. But I'm not holding it against him. 2) The Six. It was a lot of fun getting to know not only America, but the other girls who have made it this far in the Selection. They really help us get to know Maxon better, because he acts differently towards each of them. Not different in a personality complex kind of way, we just get to see the different sides of him. It was a great device to introduce us to the many faces of Prince Maxon, especially since we get so little of the Selection process from his side. 3) The King and Queen. I was not expecting their reactions to America at all. It's nice when an author has the ability to surprise me. I actually would have liked a little more face time with them, as it seemed like a lot of what we got was through he said, she said from Maxon. But it was definitely a new angle to throw in and I liked it a lot. 4) There was a lot more action in this one. If you'll remember from the first, in addition to the main plot line (The Selection), there is some civil unrest going on within Illea. We get much more information regarding this plot line, and I finally was starting to piece a few things together. While we are still focused on the "Bachelor-esque" part of the story, it was nice to be bringing in some more about life in Illea. You begin to realize that while the choice may appear to be Maxon's alone, it really isn't. 5) The ending. It's about time we get some time outside the castle. That's all I'm going to say.
What I Didn't Like: Just two tiny little things. First off, Aspen. Maybe this is because I'm all Team Maxon and everything, but he just seems to always show up at the most inopportune times. Ugh! Secondly, I like America, and she seemed to be a strong character in The Selection. But she's become a little wishy-washy in this book. Every few pages she changes her mind, Maxon or Aspen. This started to get on my nerves a little. Maybe I'm just ready for her to make up her mind!
Overall Thoughts: I mostly love this series. I'm a little frustrated with America right now, but I still love the idea, and the plot keeps me very well engaged. If you haven't taken the time to start this series yet, now would be a great time. It's got some great romance elements, personable characters and a plotline that gives you someone to root for. I was pleased to see that this book did not fall into that old, second-book trap that I despise so much and it's left me very anxious for the next and final book in the series, The One (which won't be out until next May. *sigh*
My Rating: 4 shots