- Author: Kiera Cass
- Genre: YA Romance/Dystopia
- Publication Date: April 24, 2012
- Publisher: HarperTeen
- Series: The Selection #1
CONTENT WARNING: implied rape (off-page), trauma
Originally posted on Leah’s Books.
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.
The gorgeous cover of this book definitely caught my attention, and it’s kind of like a tamed down version of The Hunger Games meets The Bachelor. I’m actually surprised that I enjoyed it as much as I did, because I ordinarily avoid shows like The Bachelor like the plague, but …
Let me start out by saying that this isn’t a literary masterpiece. I read this between some seriously heavy reads, and it was a fairly easy, light, quick read. Definitely what I needed as a bookish palate cleanser. It takes place in a future version of the US, broken down into sort of districts, ruled over by a monarchy, and made up of numbered castes that dictate people’s standing in society. There’s rebels, which adds some tension to the glittering competition of these 35 women who are vying for Prince Maxon … or the crown. Well, 34 women. America is really just in it for the food and the chance to make life better for her family.
I really liked America’s character. She’s sweet without being fake. She’s not exactly classy. She’s blunt, which is what earned her my respect. And she’s willing to open her eyes and see things for herself, which is definitely a plus. In a setting where she’s surrounded with other girls who are chasing after their own goals and opportunities, she’s still looking out for her family and trying to do what she thinks is right. And the other girls don’t always play nice.
I honestly liked Prince Maxon as well. I wasn’t expecting to, since I was fully prepared for him to be a spoiled brat. But he wasn’t! He was sweet, smart, and kind of funny in an awkward way. I liked getting to see a different side of him with America, and I found myself rooting for the two of them to end up together.
As for characters that I didn’t like … let’s talk about Aspen. I know America is feeling him, but I wasn’t. He’s kind of a jerk to her sometimes, and there’s some hints of toxic masculinity involved. I get that as a lower caste, his ego is going to come into play with finances, but seriously? The girl is talented and has a great opportunity. Don’t mess it up for her, man!
The pace was steady throughout the book, and I listened to the audiobook, so it went by pretty fast. The narrator, Amy Rubinate, was the perfect voice for America, and I felt sucked into the story right away. It ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, although things are wrapped up so I didn’t feel like I was tricked into wanting to read the next book. I was, however, absolutely outraged that I couldn’t access the next book immediately, and have to wait until the next audiobook is available through my library. *SIGH* but at least the wait isn’t too long.