The Selection by Kiera Cass
Release: April 24, 2012
For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.
But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.
Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself--and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined
For the longest time, I avoided reading The Selection because of the drama that surrounded it's release. If you are unaware of the incident I'm talking about, it's probably best that you don't know. I think I needed time to distance myself from the drama, to sort of approach the book with a clean slate, without bias.
The Selection is about a girl named America Singer. She lives a futuristic world where the United States has resorted back to a monarchy. In order to keep peace, and in order to show that the royal family is of the people, the male heir chooses his wife from the common folk through a process called The Selection. Thirty-five girls are choosen (whether at random or not is up to question) and brought to the palace to complete for the royal Prince's affection on live television. It's sort of like The Bachelor. Their world is also divided into caste systems, each with designated career options. America is a five, which means she's on of the "artists". And guess what art she specializes in? She sings. Creative, I know.
Every girl dreams of being a part of the Selection, every girl except America. She doesn't want to be Princess, she only wants to be with her boyfriend, Aspen. No one knows that she and Aspen are dating, though, because he's of a lower caste (a 6), and her family would freak out.. Marrying Aspen would mean she was going "down" the social ladder instead of up. Aspen, though, encourages America to enter in to the drawing for the Selection, only to break up her. WHAT? I honestly cannot express how much I loathe Aspen. And then he feels sorry as she's being whisked away to the palace? I don't think so. In the palace, though, America struggles with her lingering feelings for Aspen, her growing admiration for the prince, and the competition itself.
I guess I might go ahead and say that I found America's name to be very cheesy. Granted, there's a reason for why she's named America, but I still couldn't get over the strangeness of her name. In addition, the writing isn't the best. It's readable, but rather simple. Somehow, though, Cass managed to keep me turning pages. I think what compelled me the most were the characters. I think it's interesting to meet a girl who does not want to be a Princess. America is fiery, stubborn, but has a good heart. Yes, she may overreact, and there were times I wanted to shake her, but she's a rather well-developed character. I could relate to her in many ways. I've already said how much I dislike Aspen, but Maxon? I love him. I truly hope that he'll pick America in the end. He's charing, sophisticated, but still very human. He's trying to come to terms with rebel attacks, and he's working hard to be the best leader he can be. He's not perfect, but he's definitely trying. Cass also managed to make the story enjoyable, and there were a few twists I did not expect. I can see why people enjoyed this book, and I can see why some would hate it too.
The biggest fault of The Selection lies with its world building. I can't understand why the caste system was put in place, and I can't fathom why people would be okay being "stuck" in a career without any opportunities to move up in the world. The United states is all about "moving up" that social ladder. It glorifies those people who overcame obstacles and came up on top. This world leaves no room for that sort of advancement, which I have difficulty accepting. However, I am glad that Kiera introduced readers to the rebel attacks. What and why they are attacking is still a mystery, as well as why they waited so long to attack. Hopefully, some of my questions regarding the rebel's motivation and world itself will be answered the in sequel.
It's not a perfect book, by any means, but it's an enjoyable read. I'd say it's more geared toward younger YA readers, but if you're up for some drama and romance check this book out. Don't go in to this book thinking you're going to read a dystopian. Luckily, the cover sort of makes that obvious.
RATING: 3 SLICES