Wednesday, May 23, 2012

26. The Selection

Book #26: The Selection
Author: Kiera Cass
Published: April 24, 2012
327 pages
4 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

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 the palace and compete for the heart of the 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.

I'll admit that the description of The Bachelor meets The Hunger Games drew me in, but that's certainly not what kept me going. The only similarity to The Hunger Games in this book is the fact that it's a dystopian novel. The girls involved in the Selection do it by their own will and most of them actually want to win. Also, no one dies if they don't get picked. It is much more like The Bachelor, which, I do also admit, is a great plot. I've read a couple of mixed reviews, but I'm glad to say I'm on the loving side. 

I love the world that Cass created, it's old fashioned yet futuristic all at once. America has been resurrected into a monarchy, ruled by a royal family like most European countries. And now that the prince is of age, it's time for him to choose a princess. Thus The Selection, a reality TV show where he will pick the future Princess of Illea. Enter America Singer, a lower class girl who's in love with an even lower class man, who enters just to make her family happy. And there'd be no plot without America having to leave her true love to be part of the Selection. 

The relationship between America and Prince Maxon is adorable and believable. They make a pact to be friends because her heart belongs to another, and she becomes his go-to girl. I fell in love with Maxon before America even thought about it. He is sweet and naive, eager to please his parents and learn how to rule the kingdom. Over the course of the novel, as the other girls vie for his attention, America doesn't realize she's had it all along. Their friendship turning into something more melts my heart and makes me eager for the next chapter in their lives together. 

The world that Cass sucks us into is believable and easy to understand. The caste system, which is numbered and realistic, makes it easy to relate to the different worlds living together. It is much like it is now, with lower, middle and upper class, where some worry if they will get to eat and others have an abundance of everything they could ever ask for. America helps to teach Maxon about the world outside the palace and he in turn teaches her about love. 

There could have been more about the competition, like a talent portion or more detail into what was happening to make it a TV show. They were only on camera once a week and nothing really seemed to be happening outside of America and Maxon getting to know each other. Girls leave suddenly and not enough leave to make you want to grab the pages and keep reading. It was well written and entertaining, but there could have been more. I'm excited to pick up the second in this series to see where Cass will take her characters. 

“I couldn't joke about the person who'd saved me from facing absolute heartbreak at home, who fed my family boxes of sweets, who ran to me worried that i was hurt if I asked for him.

A month ago, I had looked at the TV and seen a stiff, distant, boring person-someone I couldn't imagine anyone loving. And while he wasn't anything close to the person I did love, he was worthy of having someone to love in his life.” 

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