Title: The Selection
Author: Kiera Cass
Genre: Fantasy YA
Pages: 327 (paperback)
Good Reads Synopsis
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.
“True Love is usually the most inconvenient kind.”
“I hope you find someone you can’t live without.I really do. And I hope you never have to know what it’s like to have to try and live without them.”
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I had been dying to read this book since I first heard about it roughly two years ago, but I never actually bought it because there’s just so many good books. I wish I picked it up earlier. I wish I had the rest of the series. I wish it was a movie. When I went to buy this book at Books-A-Million, the guy at the check out counter said that so many people had bought it and asked “isn’t it about some kind of beauty pageant?” No. But yes. Sort of. I wasn’t really sure before reading it either, I just knew I wanted it.
I just want to say upfront that I no-lifed this book. It was such an easy read and each time I ended a chapter I always thought okay maybe one more. And then the book was over. I got so caught up in the story, and the writing of the book allowed a seamless flow. I think that’s what really makes a good book; when you don’t have to focus on the words and you can just picture the story happening in your head. There was no stumbling between sentences or need to re-read like most books. It was just a nice, light read.
Although it was a light read, you could really get in the mind of America. At first you probably thought she was stupid for not wanting the chance to fall in love with prince, but after reading it, it’s easy to see where she’s coming from. There’s a cute boy you’re already in love with, your family is close and loving, and you love your job. Why WOULD you want to leave? And I also like that Cass didn’t immediately have America drop everything when she got to the castle and realize she’s stuck there and give up on everything she had before. No, she’s too stubborn for that. I also like that she didn’t immediately cave when she met the prince and it didn’t become just another romance story. It’s nice to see a character stay true to what she wants even when a prince is dangled in front of her.
I also really enjoyed the situation Cass put America in. You’re in a place you don’t want to be and forced to compete with thirty-four other bratty girls for a prince you don’t even love, why not just leave? Oh, that’s right, your family is really poor and needs the money from the competition to eat. Either leave and let your loved ones starve again, or stay and make them happy. It really adds to the depth of the situation and gives good support for why America refuses to leave even though she is unhappy instead of simply having her stay for plot progression.
And how can I not mention the boys in the book? I usually don’t end up on the side of the “prince” in books with love triangles (I preferred Chaol in Throne of Glass and Jacob in Twilight), but here prince Maxon is really down to Earth. He doesn’t strut around all high and mighty because he’s a prince; if anything, he tries to avoid that while still maintaining his responsibilities as a future king. I actually didn’t really like the guy America started out with because I know his intentions in what he told her at the beginning were good, but I just really didn’t like how rude he was to her when she tried to do something nice for him. I haven’t read the other books in the series to really know which one I’ll really like, but it’s not looking too good for Aspen.
I feel like the Selection is a good example for anyone trying to write a light-hearted book while still maintaining the depth necessary to keep it interesting and memorable. Also, it’s just fun to read because everyone loves a good princess, romance book where the main character isn’t whiny and wimpy. In the following books I do want to see more progression in America because I feel like, for the most part, she didn’t change a whole lot as a person since she was already a tough character in the beginning. I would highly recommend this book to anyone.