Provided via Edelweiss- Publisher: Harper Teen- Release Date: 4/24/12
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.
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Kiera Cass is a graduate of Radford University and currently lives in Blacksburg, Virginia, with her family. Her fantasy novel The Siren was self-published in 2009. Kiera has kissed approximately fourteen boys in her life. None of them were princes.
“I sighed and went back to filling out the application. The whole thing made me feel like my family didn’t think I had any right to want something of my own. It bothered me, but I knew I couldn’t hold it against them in the long run. We couldn’t afford the luxury of wants. We had needs.”
Our heroine, America Singer, lives in a new America that is filled with rigid caste systems that dictate your life's work, living arrangements and poverty level. The system also strictly prevent members of lower castes from romantically pursuing members of the higher ones. Naturally, America is in love with a boy from a caste lower than she is in and they have to keep their romance on the low.
|What she said!|
The Selection is one way to beat the caste system permanently. By agreeing to be part of a "The Bachelor"-like selection process to choose a Princess for the handsome and charming Prince, a girl can go from rags to riches in a flash if she can keep her wits about her in the process.
|Hi America! Your the girl for me! Until I change my mind at the last damn second.|
America doesn't want any part of this Selection, but if she were chosen, she could change not only her future, but that of her family as well. The opportunity is too tempting to not at least give it a shot. You might be able to figure out where this is going already, but the ride is more than half of the fun.
I loved America (even if I wasn't the biggest fan of her name...) and liked the boldness of her character. The characters and the plot development are the strongest attributes of The Selection. The pace is brisk and moves right along, carrying you with it. You don't get to know many of the other candidates in great detail (that would have been distracting anyway), but the ones you do meet are interesting.
|No. I don't need to get to know each and every one of you. Really...|
The only slight criticism I would have is that the world-building as it is a little sketchy. Post world war royalty? Caste systems - why is that a good plan to go back to? So many authors are going down this dystopian path and re-creating America or the world for their post-apocalyptic creations. I feel like this can limit them on certain levels because we all, obviously, know how life is right now, so we want the details of how we got to this imagined future. This can be a fun exercise for an author, I think, but a restricted one with lots of 'splaining to do, Lucy.
|Oh, once-beautiful library! What happened to you? Someone tell me right now!!!|
Maybe a better option would be to just flat-out create your own world, Graceling or Game of Thrones style. The author has created this world, so no matter what is thrown at us, we have to buy it and usually gladly do. Since this is the first novel of an intended series, maybe more details of America's world will come to the surface in subsequent books.
Overall, The Selection is a fun fairy tale with a modern twist that I can't wait to see more of!