Title: The Selection
Author: Kiera Cass
Publication: April 24, 2012 by HarperTeen
Rating: 4/5 stars
Summary (Amazon): 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.
My Review: I seem to be in a habit lately of picking up series that I think are done or books that I believe to be standalone, only to learn there are still more books left! I truly did not know that this was part of a trilogy when I began reading and was genuinely confused when I was nearing the end and things were not wrapping up. However, once I saw that it would be continued things began to make a lot more sense.
I was a little hesitant to pick up this book, as I saw reviews liken it to “The Hunger Games meets ‘The Bachelor’!” and I can’t even tell you how much i LOATHE reality shows like “The Bachelor”. Seriously, ick. However, once I got past that aversion to the story I ended up pleasantly surprised. It was adorable in all the right ways.
The Good: As much as I was wary of ‘The Bachelor’-esque theme, I have to admit I found myself enjoying the competition, especially getting to watch nasty girls taken down a notch or two. The story is self is sweet and lighthearted (with the exception of a few minor instances), which I found was exactly what I needed as I read this book almost immediately after Insurgent. And of course, as with most recent YA books, there’s the love triangle between America, her childhood love Aspen and Prince Maxon. By the end of the books I still wasn’t quite sure which one I preferred. Hopefully the next two books will make the choice easier for me!
Also, America Singer is a fantastic main character for this story, she’s straightforward, bold, opinionated and stubborn. Also a tad socially awkward and isn’t used to dressing up, which i can totally relate to, especially around girls from the upper “castes”. It’s quite satisfying watching her awkward run-ins with Maxon and even more fun when she’s not afraid to hold back in a conversation. I do love a female character that speaks her mind (and plays multiple instruments!)
The Bad: One thing I was never quite clear on was how the caste system came to be or how the country of America deteriorated and over time became Illéa. Also, why are there two different camps of rebels and what are their goals? I mean, other than chaos and just general panic under gunfire. The history nerd in me needs to know these things, as they seem more important to the overall trilogy than the romance between Prince Maxon and his bevy of girls.
A fair warning, the ending leaves MUCH to be disired in this book, which is inline with it being the first in a trilogy. However, I like endings best where they wrap up some plot points and leave a few others hanging, or introduce an entirely new cliffhanger. I’m not such a fan of leaving everything up in the air to be resolved IN THE NEXT BOOK. Which, doesn’t come out for at least another year. So, be aware.
One thing is for sure, I don’t really understand the comparison to The Hnger Games, other than it’s the book all ‘dystopian fiction’ is compared to. This is definitely more of a light hearted read for those who enjoy a good romance or princess fairy tales. Now I just have to figure out how to wait for the next two books…