By Kiera Cass
The Selection – Book One
Available April 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.
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.
This Blonde’s Review:
Imagine a world where America has collapsed and through several events that are unclear we find ourselves in a society where we have accepted a caste system. People were classified based on what their ancestors could do or what they could afford to give the new leaders. In this world the man determines your class, since a woman can marry up or rarely down.
America Singer is a Five. They’re limited to careers in the Arts, something people aren’t willing to pay for regularly. America is in love with Aspen, a Six. His family is in a harder situation than she is but she loves him and hopes to marry him. They keep their relationship a secret, in part because America’s mother would not approve.
When America receives a form to participate in the Selection she doesn’t want to fill it out. She has no desire to go to the palace and try to win the Prince, even if she did have a shot of getting chosen in the lottery. When Aspen and her family manage to convince her to fill out the form she goes for it, never expecting to be chosen.
Since there wouldn’t be a story if she wasn’t, America is obviously the girl chosen from her district. She goes hoping she can last long enough for her family to get the compensation they’ll receive, but she won’t do anything more than be herself. After a potentially disastrous first meeting with Prince Maxon, America soon finds herself liking Maxon more than she expected and offers him her friendship.
America spends her weeks at the palace enjoying the friendships she is making and fighting her conflicting feelings. Being in the palace gives America first hand experience with things she never knew at home, making her start to question the things she knows and what she doesn’t.This led to some interesting questions for me as well that I hope the author will do something great with in the next book.
America isn’t perfect, but she has a few classic character flaws. She refuses to accept that she’s pretty while everything the author uses to describe her makes her sound like a knockout. And she’s obsessed with a boy who is the LOVE OF HER LIFE. Ugh. Spare me those girls. But moving past those flaws she’s still an enjoyable character. She wants to be herself and won’t be made into something she’s not by the competition. She does her best to encourage the people around her, even the girls who are assigned to her as maids.
This book was compared to the Hunger Games meets the Bachelor, but that wasn’t what I got out of it. I don’t see any comparisons to the Hunger Games since girls who are eliminated are not injured, they’re actually in a better position from when they started. The danger and the emotions aren’t there. It is a lot like the bachelor with the competing girls though. This book makes me think this series may be more like the Delirium series than Hunger Games, but the Delirium series had more danger in either book than this one has shown so far.
I have strong opinions about which guy America should end up with but considering the complications the author threw at us towards the end of the story, I’m not sure where she’ll end up. I look forward to reading the next book in this story to find out if the potential in this series grows into something more.
I did think the author should have explained the caste system a little better. I’ve seen other reviews where it was criticized as pointless since people weren’t punished for having opinions and thoughts that didn’t fit what their betters wanted. I didn’t remember seeing anything that led me to the conclusion that it should have been that way. My belief was that the system limited their career choices, which would clearly limit income as well since typically a maid or small time performer wouldn’t be the type of high earner to afford the nicest homes, especially if the whole family was limited to the same career field. The need for earlier income would also limit education, as stated in the books, so the lower castes would have lower education and potential as well. That type of system would prevent people from hoping for anything more than possibly marrying up. I hope that in the next book we will learn more about how the country has been set up and what their classification system limitations are.
There were a few other minor things that I wished the author had explained better but they weren’t big enough to keep me from enjoying the story. I didn’t expect to enjoy this one and debating signing up for the tour, but I’m glad I gave it a shot. I could see this series going somewhere if the second book can build more on the world they live in. I know I’ll be ready to read the next book as soon as it’s out to see where the author takes this story.
America’s story is like Cinderella who doesn’t want the prince. She’s being lifted out of her poor life but she’d much rather get back to the chimney if she can have the boy she wants! But maybe there is more to the world than she ever knew. If that sounds like something that would interest you then you should get a copy of this one next month!