Genre: YA Sci-fi/Romance
Pub. Date: April 24, 2012
Source: Personal Copy
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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."
America Singer lives in a post WWIII world where people are divided into castes. She just so happens to be a Five, which means they are struggling musicians or artists. America is in love with Aspen, who belongs to a caste below her. This makes their love forbidden and she has been meeting with him in secret for years. Meanwhile, Prince Maxon is of the age where he must look for a princess, which is where the "Selection" comes in. Think of it like The Bachelor. Much to America's surprise, she is chosen to be a part of the selection and for every week she is there, her family will be compensated. This is what drives America to do it, but deep down she knows her heart belongs to someone else. The Selection by Kiera Cass is an deliciously entertaining read, especially if readers can recognize that this is more of a young adult romance than a dystopian novel.
America is a likable girl that is easy to connect with. She loves her family and feels she owes it to them to be a part of the selection as it's hard to be a Five in their world. Some days they barely get by. Even though Aspen doesn't want her to be a part of the selection, he recognizes that this could bring many opportunities for her and her family. Once America is selected, she leaves things in a bad state with Aspen and while at the palace, she struggles to forget about him. America knows she isn't interested in Maxon romantically, but as they become better friends, she realizes that maybe she was wrong about him. Her internal struggle between the two boys, although a love triangle, was done well, especially because Aspen is absent for most of the book. So, it wasn't an in-your-face type of love triangle that normally makes me cringe.
I know many readers had issues with The Selection because it was supposed to be a dystopia. Yes, I found that it lacked in dystopian themes as well, but once I started to think of it more as a romance, similar to The Bachelor, I really enjoyed this guilty pleasure. With many girls living at the palace competing for the crown, you can only imagine what kind of drama ensues.
I wish that Cass would have explained a bit more about the post WWIII world and these different castes. For example, there was a rebel attack on the palace, but it really wasn't explained fully. A little more background would have been helpful and would have probably strengthened the already weak dystopian themes.
Overall, I found The Selection to be enjoyable and seriously entertaining. I am excited that it is going to be turned into a TV show on the CW and I think it will be loads of fun. So, if readers are interested in a hardcore dystopian novel, they won't find it with The Selection; however, if they want a fun, Bachelor-like romance, I recommend this series. Book two, The Elite, comes out this April and I can't wait to get my hands on a copy.