Title: The Selection [The Selection 1]
Author: Kiera Cass
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Science Fiction, Romance
Rating: 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.
WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. How much you ask? I forgot to take any notes on it. Not a single highlight, not a single complaint about grammar—which, as a review blogger, is completely unheard of in my line of work. I’ll admit it: I got sucked in. By the end of the first page I was so engrossed in America Singer’s world, that I didn’t let up for air until the end of the book.
As far as the technical side of things: I didn’t notice any grammatical mishaps, misspelled words, or punctuation errors. The formatting was spot-on, and the cover was gorgeous. The narrative was fast-paced, clear, and engaging, and the characters were endearing and dynamic.
I loved America (even with her trendy name) from the moment her story began, and that didn’t change. She fumbled sometimes and didn’t always make the best spur of the moment decisions, but I never felt she was anything but genuine. She didn’t come across as your typical too-beautiful-to-be-believed-but-dumb-as-a-brick heroine. She was a tad angsty with her mother, but her irritation over her mother’s overbearing ways was understandable. She was a smart, down-to-earth girl in a crappy society that was fully aware of just how crappy it was. She wanted to fall in love, get married, and live her life in what ever way she’d chosen—and when she found out that what she wanted and her options didn’t coincide, she was understandably heart broken. She was a great character.
Maxon too was a very endearing character. Although it was obvious that he lacked the inherent social knowledge that America seemed to have in droves, he was sweet. He was smart, funny, kind, and genuinely optimistic—but he lacked real world knowledge, and that is perhaps why America and Maxon made such a good pair. I giggled—literally—several times during this book. I fawned over the adorable moments between America and Maxon where they were poking fun at each other or outwardly showing their care for one another.
Aspen, on the other hand, I genuinely didn’t like. I know, I know… this was supposed to be a love triangle, and I’m sure I’m supposed to like Aspen every bit as much as I do Maxon… but to be honest, the only thing that boy had going for him in my eyes, was America’s love for him. There was this odd “icky” feeling I got about Aspen and America’s relationship from the very beginning, and that was before I knew he was several years older than her. This guy purportedly loved her, but had no problem treading very close to the line of the law—endangering both of them. Yes, I realize teenagers have hormones, but it still gave me a squidgy feeling. As the story progressed and Aspen took a step back from their relationship, I was angry. It felt too much like he was using her, and I know I was supposed to feel that way, but no manner of apologizing later in the book made that moment feel okay to me. Whereas it felt like Maxon truly loved America and cherished her, Aspen’s relationship with America felt over sexualized. It felt too much like lust, and he put her in too much danger for me to get behind their relationship.
The story was an interesting concept, and leaned more towards YA Romance than Dystopian, but that didn’t bug me. It was an interesting take on the future and it was fun to see the characters essentially stuck in a reality-TV show. There was drama, romance, danger, and mystery, and I ate it up with a spoon. I would happily recommend this series to anyone who enjoys YA fiction, and I’ve already made the leap to purchase the next two books in the series. I can’t wait to delve further into America Singer’s world.