GENRE: Young Adult – Fiction, Dystopian, Romance
SERIES: The Selection Series
SYNOPSIS (from Goodreads): 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.
REVIEW: The Selection ended up being a surprisingly good novel. I’m not really sure what I was expecting, except a beauty contest for a prince. Really, the story started out sounding a little bit like the biblical story of Esther, but that is when you are expecting a snobbish, arrogant prince; but once you get to know the characters, particularly America and Prince Maxon, the story itself really starts to take shape. From the beginning it is very obvious that there is going to be a love triangle – but because of the way this story plays out, it’s easier to accept than what happens in most of the Young Adult novels I read; where girl is totally in love with Boy A, then something happens and she falls on Boy B. For this story, one boy sacrifices his love because it’s what he feels is best for her. The way it’s laid out, you can see where it seems like he’s making the right decision, even when your head is screaming, “nooo!”
There were no great feats of action, or major events in The Selection – in that way the book might actually seem a little bit dull. There were a few attacks by rebel camps, but since the action was outside and America was inside, you didn’t actually get to “see” it. The main plot of the story was pretty much about the selection process, what the girls were doing to impress the prince, and what events, interviews and dresses might end up on TV., etc. Even America, and her internal struggles didn’t even seem all that captivating on their own – it was the typical struggle between boys, and her true feelings, and doing what is right. This book is not really a “new” concept.
The characters are what makes this story. Each of the girls in the selection have their own personalities, and in the end, with a few exceptions, you actually like all of them. America is a very strong character. She’s got a good foothold on reality, and doesn’t run around doing a bunch of reckless things that aggregate you to pieces. She wants to do what is right, and that war between what is right and what she wants isn’t as petty as it has seemed in other books. I think Kiera Cass has created a very strong leader in America, she’s able to think on her feet and make good decisions. Not to mention her mild sarcasm, and obvious way with knowing how to say just the right thing. Prince Maxon is very sweet in his innocence. He made me smile more than once, and truly is the perfect mix of regal, and royal, as well as typical self-conscious teenage boy. Then there is Aspen, the boy that ranks below America on the cast system, but whom she has been secretly dating for two years. He is another very strong character, with morals and doubts of his own. Honestly, in this love triangle, there doesn’t seem to be a “best choice.” Both boys are equally appealing and very strong characters. I know my favorite, and I know who I think America may end up with, but really the book could take many directions, and I’m looking forward to seeing which way it actually goes.