Book: The Selection, Kiera Cass
Series: The Selection Trilogy, #1
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: April 24th, 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.
This book has been described as Hunger Games meets The Bachelor. And yes, that is a fairly avid description of the basis of this book. However, don’t let that put you off reading it. It has nothing to do with killing, death, fights to the death or anything remotely related to Hunger Games, except that they had castes numbered 1-8, 1 being the wealthiest families and 8 being the poorest, a lot like the Hunger Games had districts. The rest however, is very much the Bachelor.
It’s set in a time where US is now called Illea, and there is a royal monarch instead of a president. And traditionally, when the king’s son is eligible to marry, the Selection is held. 35 completely average, ordinary girls are chosen from the public and compete in a competition to win the prince’s heart.
America is our protagonist, a Five in the caste system. She isn’t interested in participating in the Selection as she already has a boyfriend of her own, whom she’s been in love with for two years, Aspen. When America is chosen as part of the Selection, he inevitably breaks up with her, so she enters the palace completely heartbroken yet has to appear in love with the Prince.
This book was a lot of fun. While the writing wasn’t always up to par throughout the book, and there was a lot of showing instead of telling, the premise was still interesting and I really enjoyed the characters.
Unsurprisingly, Maxon the prince and America don’t hit it off, even though you can tell Maxon was totally attracted to her. But because America still loves Aspen, she can’t bring herself to even think about loving Maxon. However, throughout the book their relationship slowly blossoms, and it was really sweet as America realised that the Prince wasn’t as fake and shallow as he seemed.
Oh, and Maxon! He was such a great love interest. While I liked Aspen when he was first introduced, I completely fell for Maxon after his first meeting with America. He seemed completely overwhelmed with having to date 35 girls and decide which one he liked the best. I mean, how hard must that be? I knew immediately it was going to be a love triangle between him and Aspen, but I'm totally team Maxon.
America was a nice protagonist, I liked her independence and the way she didn’t treat the Prince like he was one. She wasn’t the best protagonist ever, but I still enjoyed her. I also liked some of the different girls introduced as America’s competitors, and how she became friends with them instead of treating them like enemies.
The only part that made this book dystopian was the fact that it was set in the future and there was a war going on while the Selection was on. Besides that, you wouldn’t know it was a dystopian novel.
The ending definitely gave an air that there was plenty more to happen before Maxon chooses who he wants to marry, and I can’t wait to find out.
If you’re looking to read a dystopian novel about war and fighting to the death like Legend by Marie Lu or the Hunger Games, don’t read this book. But I would recommend it for lovers of romance and competition.