Author: Kiera Cass
Genre: Science Fiction YA
First Published: 2012
Page Count: 327
Film/ TV Adaptation: No
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Note: Book 1 of The Selection series
What could’ve just been another dystopian novel with a pretty cover turns out to be a charming story for those with a weakness romance.
*Interesting Plot *Strong Female Lead
*Mild Story *Silly Names
“True love is usually the most inconvenient kind.” America Singer has joined a group of thirty-five girls for the chance of a life time. Hand picked from across the country, these young ladies are competing for Prince Maxon’s heart and the opportunity to be the next queen. The problem is, America doesn’t want to be one of the “selected” because she is secretly in love with Aspen, a man a caste below her she has known all her life. However, once America meets the prince, she starts to realize how hard it is to desire her past life with the glittering possibilities that could now be her future.
You can’t go into a book store and not feast your eyes on the luxurious covers of any of the books in The Selection series. It has been hugely popular and has stayed off my to read list for as long as I was able to hold out. But there is only so long I can resist a book with a cover as pretty as this. However, because this book was so popular I was almost convinced that I would find it silly, dull, and a formulaic young adult novel because of its notoriety. Hence my complete surprise at how much I enjoyed this story. Initially it feels very eerily like The Hunger Games (class system, pretty girl from a poor family, love triangle, competition that will better her life, the list goes on). But the idea of vying for a prince’s heart gave it a different angle. This still could’ve been a predictable mess but Cass continued to surprise me. I like that Maxon and America’s relationship is not conventional and that she truly doesn’t want to be in the competition. America is a strong female lead. She is upfront and honest with Maxon, sticks to her values, and also came across as very likable because of how kind and fair she is. She is not some silly floozy whose head is easily turned at the first appearance of an attractive guy or at the sparkle and grandeur of her new situation.
While the story kept me interested, I can say that for the first book in a series the entire plot felt very mild. There is a whole side story about violent rebels that isn’t really fleshed out, caddy girls in the competition who don’t get their comeuppance, and the conclusion is the most tame cliff hanger I’ve read in a while with no indication of where America’s heart is leaning in the love triangle. In fact every character except America hold this veil of mystery that is never addressed. This could all be material to keep the next books going but I wished we would have gotten a few more answers. Another slight qualm I had with the book was the naming of the characters. It’s my issue with a lot of young adult books. It doesn’t make the characters sound pretty or otherworldly, just odd. Maxon was pretty much the only name that felt relatively normal and didn’t make me cringe.
I am very excited to continue on with this series, but the next book could really make it or break it for me. I need more answers and more world building. The love triangle needs to intensify or some decisions need to be made on America’s part. Seeing how popular this series is, I’m going to try to be positive and hopeful that this series continues to entertain me.