Author: Kiera Cass
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: 4-24-12
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 the palace and compete for the heart of the 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. –Goodreads
I have to confess that I enjoyed this book much more than I thought I would. The world is gently dystopian, with a caste system that has been set up in the ruins of the US after a prolonged war with China and then Russia. I thought the caste idea was interesting. Instead of just having the “haves and have nots” there are several levels of privilege. America’s family is somewhere in the lower middle; they have barely enough, but still go without quite a bit. The bright spot in her life is an intense romance with a boy that is in a caste lower than her’s. Of course, America is against the idea of the selection and enters reluctantly, which makes things interesting when she is chosen and whisked away to the palace. I like America’s bad attitude, determination to provide a better life for her family and simultaneous disgust and enjoyment of the privileged life at the castle. She was not immune to the decadence, but she remained her own person throughout, which made her character appealing to me.
This book could have easily fallen into a commentary of how we have reduced love and courtship into a spectator sport via reality TV, but it was not. This turned into a story of a girl who gets to live a life she never imagined and wants to drag it out as long as possible. The romance, while very enjoyable, took second place to America’s observations about the difference in lifestyle between the palace and the people that live in Ilea and her navigation of this bizarre courting ritual. Yes, there is a love triangle, but, as with almost all love triangles, the two boys represent two very different parts of America’s life. The Selection was fun and enjoyable read and I am looking forward to book two and to the TV movie!
I received this book as a part of a Southern Book Bloggers ARC tour: