Young Adult, Dystopian, Romance
Hardcover $17.99 (336 pages, HARPERTEEN)
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.
Author Site: www.kieracass.com
Dystopian, yet not... (4 stars)
America Singer's world is divided by a stringent caste system that was put into place generations before. Your lifestyle and every detail of your existence is decided by the number placed on your ancestor. Moving up is nearly impossible and those at the bottom have very little to live for. All America wants is to marry Aspen, but he is a class below her and can barely assure his family is fed. The Selection, a once-in-a-lifetime chance to compete against thirty-four other young women of the kingdom to become Prince Maxon's bride offers America and her family a chance to move up.
When her name is called even the allure of fancy gowns, decadent meals, and the chance to become a princess can't fully kill the sting of leaving Aspen behind. The Selection puts America in the spotlight in ways she never expected and challenges her even as she realizes Prince Maxon isn't the man he appears to be on television. At the palace she discovers that there is still a lot the government hides from the people and her life will never, ever be the same.
THE SELECTION is probably the most undystopian dystopian novels I've read. The elements are so subtle and revealed in such a way it quickly becomes apparent that not even America, as the narrator, knows the finer details. At the same time it's a bit of a compelling romance as she struggles with the consequences of her relationship with Aspen and later the one that she finds herself in with Prince Maxon. Very rarely do I have a hard time deciding which suitor in a love triangle to root for but both Aspen and Maxon are likable.
The one thing that kept me from loving THE SELECTION was that I went into it expecting more of a romance and therefore a stand-alone novel. Though I had realized about halfway through the book was definitely not long enough to allow full conclusion of the plot, the ending was quite abrupt. Not quite a cliff-hanger but one that will leave many readers anxious for the next book. Strangely enough, the CW has done a pilot for the show but decided to redo it going farther from the novel so who knows what that will produce and what any of that means for the novels.
While it had somewhat of a hiccup in the ending it was a really entertaining story, a well-thought out world, and very difficult to put down. I highly recommend it for fans who like love stories unfolding in dystopian worlds and readers who haven't yet tried dystopians who would like a gentle place to start.
Did you read and review this book? Please leave a link to your review in the comments!
Notes: ARC received via Amazon Vine.