Author: Kiera Cass
Release date: 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 the palace and compete for the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon.The Selection is an amazing story. It's a fabulous young adult dystopian that readers will adore. Kiera Cass is a wonderful writer and readers will be drawn into America's world. Once you pick this book up it will be nearly impossible to put down.
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.
The Selection is a lot like The Bachelor, I will admit that. Slight differences include a dystopian world, rebel attacks, and a prince as the bachelor. Even with this similarity the story still manages to be unique and entertaining. The girls are all individuals and while they are fighting for the same guy, they still manage to be friendly and encouraging (at least most of them.)
America wants nothing to do with The Selection but she has very little choice. She is shocked when she is picked but she makes the best of it, mainly to help her family. She is a brave, strong, regal girl but she very rarely sees this in herself. Her biggest flaw is that she thinks so little of herself. She does gain confidence throughout the book but she will need a lot more if she wants any chance at winning Prince Maxon's heart and the crown.
Speaking of Prince Maxon: he is not the typical prince/rich bachelor at all. He is strong, smart, humble, kind, and caring. He is also rather inexperienced with girls which makes for some very funny/awkward moments. He treats each girl very well and he really is looking for love. His biggest problem is that he pays so much attention to what others want him to do. He needs to grow a backbone and decide for himself!
As for the rest of the characters: some I liked, some I hated. The other boy, Aspen, was a bit of a jerk and I admit that I am Team Maxon. However there were times when I could see his appeal and could understand why America might fall for him. Marlee, one of the other Selected, had a pretty big role but she remained quite a mystery. The maids, Lucy, Anne, and Mary were some of the best characters. They were fun and sweet and cracked me up. The two characters I really hated were Celeste, one of the Selected, and America's mom. Celeste was so mean, not just to America but to everyone in the competition. She was truly nasty. America's mom was so manipulative and mean to America. It seemed like she didn't even care about America's feelings. It was really hard to see a good side to her. I really wanted to bitchslap her a few times.
I found the world-building to be a bit lacking but I hope that changes in the sequel. There were a few mysteries regarding the history of Illea as well as the rebel attacks and both of those mysteries should really liven up the second book.
Overall, The Selection is one that I highly recommend. For a dystopian young adult book it's a rather light read but it certainly shows hints of darkness that might be developed in the following books. The sequel is very high on my wishlist.
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