Considered a YA novel that could be the child of The Hunger Games and The Bachelor, I found The Selection to be quite an enjoyable and fast read with a very provocative concept. Who doesn't like to read about a bunch of girls who get chosen to compete for the chance to become a Prince's wife? We all saw how fascinated most people are with royalty and their personal lives as the whole world stopped to watch the real Royal Wedding last year. Kiera Cass, you sly girl you, you picked the one subject you knew we couldn't stay away from. Royal obsessions aside, Kiera Cass has truly managed to create an engaging fascinating love story, love triangle more like it, where she marries the concepts of a dystopia with a fairy tale.
America Singer, is a actually a "singer" in a society where everyone belongs to a caste or social class determined way before your were born by whatever status your ancestors had. There are eight castes and America is a five, which means she and her family are artists, struggling ones at that, who struggle to make ends meet, but manage to get a few performing gigs a year to at least not starve to death. The ones are the richest class, besides royalty, and the eights are pretty much the homeless castaways. Everyone is identified by their order in this very unusual social structure. If you were a five, you were considered a whole class above a six, which could mean a world of difference. America is torn because she is in love with Aspen, her next door neighbor who happens to be a six, a whole class below her, and a forbidden love in the eyes of this very rigid society. America and Aspen's relationship is a rocky one, as they struggle to keep it a secret while Aspen holds an inner conflict with the fact that if he marries America, she would be downgraded to six, and definitely fall upon harder times still than what she goes through now as a five. In Aspen's eyes, he is not good for her.
A call has gone out to all eligible young ladies of the country of Illea (the new name for what once used to be the U.S.A.) to sign up for "The Selection". A competition where 35 women are taken to the palace to live like queens and spend time with the prince, while the prince weeds them out and chooses one of them to be his bride, and the future queen. As expected, in a country with so much turmoil and social struggles, almost every girl signs up, including America, as a favor to Aspen and her mother, who begged her to. To America's surprise, shortly after Aspen breaks up with her due to his feelings of inadequacy and America is chosen as one of the selected. America goes to live in the palace, pretty much as an excuse to get away from Aspen and forget him, but as she spends time there and gets to know the kind of person Prince Maxon is, she slowly finds that her feelings towards him might be changing for the better.
I really enjoyed this book so much. I felt like I was watching a reality show competition where I was pulling so hard for my favorite girl, America of course, to win it all. It was so much fun. The only disappointing thing I found about this book was the fact that the end left me hanging and I wanted so bad to continue the second one in the series right then and there. This is definitely a must-read and in my pile of best reads of this year so far. 4 stars.
(Originally reviewed at JJiReads.blogspot.com)