Series: The Section #1
Genres: Dystopian, Romance, Young Adult
Release Date: April 24th 2012 US | June 7th 2012 UK
Amazon UK | US • Book Depository • Goodreads
Thirty-five beautiful girls. Thirty-five beautiful rivals… It’s the chance of a lifetime and 17-year-old America Singer should feel lucky. She has been chosen for The Selection, a reality TV lottery in which the special few compete for gorgeous Prince Maxon’s love. Swept up in a world of elaborate gowns, glittering jewels and decadent feasts, America is living a new and glamorous life. And the prince takes a special interest in her, much to the outrage of the others. Rivalry within The Selection is fierce and not all of the girls are prepared to play by the rules. But what they don’t know is that America has a secret – one which could throw the whole competition… and change her life forever. (Source: Harper Collins UK)
When I saw the awesome cover of The Selection for the first time, the book made it immediately on my 2012-waiting-list. I’m a girl, I like pretty dresses (especially if they aren’t pink). Unfortunately then there was all this drama going on about the author and reviewers earlier this year and at the same time I read several pretty mixed reviews. So I got wary, but still wanted to give the book a chance. As it turned out I got sucked into the dystopian world of Illéa and was enjoying the story and it’s characters.
In the beginning of the book you get easily introduced to the whole world settings, which helped understanding people’s motivation. I liked the concept of a cast system, which everybody is born into. Girls can marry a guy from a higher cast and will be “upgraded”, the other way round the girl gets “downgraded”. Every caste is responsible for a duty, e.g. builders are caste 6 and so on. The higher you are the richer you will be. America, I don’t really like the name but anyway, is a musician, who can play several instruments. Her family is quite poor as they don’t have any regular income. So when she is chosen to be one of the girls, who compete to be Prince Maxon’s future wife, this is a lucky incident as girls and their families will be compensated with money. Unfortunately America is secretly in love with Aspen, a Six.
So, that’s the setting. The book is written from America’s point of view. I loved her voice. She is a normal-kind-of-girl. She is quite humble and happy with her situation and has absolutely no ambitions to be anything better than what she is born to be. Saying this she is still a teenager. She wants to date the boy she loves and find a way to to so. She also has to deal with her übe-ambitious mother, who cames across slightly uncaring and selfish. Of course, I understand that she is worried about her family and the future, but does she really have to ignore the feelings of her daughter that much?
The whole selection process is like a very long and intensive job interview in front of the whole nation. America, who doesn’t even want to be there and who has no intentions on being pretentious, is lost and tries to find a way to be around the other girls without loosing her identity. I thought this was well done. I liked that she tried to stay true to herself, though she seemed very naïve on occasions. But lets remember that America indeed is still a teenager and for the first time separated from her family.
Let’s talk about boys. Maybe it’s the prince-complex, however I was fully prepared to hate Maxon, just because of his position. I couldn’t. He is charming (yes, a real Prince Charming), considerate and empathetic. It also becomes obvious that he is a person with feelings and insecurities and not just THE prince. I enjoyed reading the scenes with him and America, the chemistry between these two is great. I wasn’t so fond of Aspen or maybe I should better say that I liked Maxon first. Aspen loves America, but he doesn’t always show it the right way. For most of the book there wasn’t an actual love triangle, but when it did come up in the end, I was a bit annoyed. There is nobody to hate, which makes it difficult to pick sides and this always bothers me. I’m just not sure who I should vote for.
Overall The Selection was a surprisingly easy to read and well-paced book. Only the last few chapters are bit rushed and I wished Kiera Cass would have taken her time with them.There is so much happening suddenly, and little to no explanation. Also the ending could have been better, though it’s by no way a disaster. Most of my fondness for this book is based on my love of the main characters. I cared for them and I want to know more about them.So I will be looking out for book #2, The Elite, which will be published in 2013.
Want to get in touch with Kiera Cass or just know more about her books? On her website she has her weekly schedule:
Monday: I do Question Monday on twitter, usually between 7-9 pm EST. So make sure to follow me:@kieracass
Tuesday: New blog posts.
Wednesday: I hang out at the #yalitchat, also on twitter.
Thursday: If I’m going to post a new video on my YouTube channel, that’s the day to look for it.
source: Kiera Cass