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.
I want to start by saying that this is one of the most beautiful book covers I have ever seen and I would have bought it for that alone had I known nothing about the story. Thankfully, the story is pretty interesting too ;) Imagine a dystopian, YA version of ‘The Bachelor’ involving a Prince and that basically sums up The Selection.
After being dumped by Aspen, the love of her life, America is chosen as part of the selection process to compete for Prince Maxon’s heart only HER heart really isn’t in it and she agrees to take part only for the paycheques her family will receive. If America HAD been using a strategy during the selection process, then it’s a bloody good one. Feign disinterest and play hard to get. GENIUS. Only she really ISN’T interested and decides that honesty is the best policy where Prince Maxon is concerned. She offers him a friend and confidante in her only their relationship blossoms, especially for Maxon. I think because the pressure was off, it allowed them to be more natural with each other and we all know that there’s a fine line between best friends and something more. In the midst of everything, rebel attacks are increasing and no one seems to know what’s going on. And guess who should show up at the palace but Aspen and now he’s a soldier who’s fighting for more than just the palace. He wants America back. ARGH.
I know this book has had some mixed reviews but I absolutely loved it and am still thinking about the characters hours after finishing reading. I loved how strong and opinionated America was and how she wasn’t willing to trade in her morals to increase her social standing. She agrees to be part of the selection process for her family as they are poor and she’s honest with Maxon from the outset. She even offers to help him choose by giving him insider information on the other girls, for goodness sake. Speaking of boys, I loved Prince Maxon and Aspen equally and therein lies the problem – I have no idea which team I’m on! They’re both decent, cute guys. Aspen is the underdog in a way, a solider fighting his way out of servitude to give himself and his family a better life and Maxon is a Prince born into privilege and responsibility. They both have something to offer America and whilst the selection process isn’t over, I think Maxon has already made his choice; he’s just making sure that she chooses him too ;) But Aspen is back on the scene and he’s not going down without a fight. OH THE ANGST.
Besides the romance, one of the most interesting things about The Selection was the world building and the idea of a caste system. The higher the number, the lower down in the pecking order and ultimately the more limits placed on that group of people. America starts off as a five but just being part of the selection moves her up to a three. Aspen started out low too but being a solider puts him on an equal footing with America and suddenly, he feels worthy of her again.
I was a little disappointed with the ending of this book BUT ONLY BECAUSE I WANTED MORE. There is no time limit so we have no idea how long the selection process will go on but we do know that Prince Maxon has to whittle it down to six girls who will become The Elite (cue the title of the next book) and I cannot wait to read it. I’m also positively giddy at the fact that The CW have picked this up as a TV series *fangirl screams* and I can’t wait to add it to my list of favourite TV shows.
The Selection was published on 24th April, 2012 in the US and my birthday, 7th June, 2012 in the UK. The sequel, entitled The Elite will be published on 23rd April, 2013 in the US and 6th June, 2013 in the UK. There will also be a digital novella entitled The Prince and this will be available from 5th March, 2013.
To find out more about Kiera Cass and her books, please click here to visit her website.