Review: The Selection
Title: The Selection
Author: Kiera Cass
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: April 24, 2012
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.—from Goodreads
The first time I heard about this book, I sort of had a YEEEEEEEES reaction. I mean, the book is basically The Bachelor: Royal Edition, but with a contestant who thinks the entire thing is ridiculous and disgusting and awful. How could you not want to read that?
And while I picked it up thinking it would be a fun read to pass the time one night, what ended up happening is that I just sat on my couch and read it cover to cover and loved every freaking second of it.
What I think makes The Selection really great are the parameters that the author, Kiera Cass, set up for herself and the world The Selection is set in. The world is set in the future, after the fall of the United States and the rise of China. But though it’s set in the future, the world is a little medieval. There are caste systems that people are born into and can only really marry out of, there is a monarchy, and there are no history books. None.
That last part is a very minor detail in the book, but it’s something I really grabbed onto. I majored in history during undergrad and am a really big history nerd. I love it. So to live in a world where the history not just, well, the world, but the country you live in is not written down and everyone only has foggy bits and pieces of the whole story was very, very interesting to me. And I think that it’s a brilliant convention that Cass introduced because it also sort of criticizes the current state of history curriculum in American schools.
Okay, I’ve realize this is becoming a soapbox tangent, so I am stopping it right now.
So in the futuristic, yet medieval world, people marry very young. So it’s no big deal for a 16-year-old to fall in love and just get married, which is what American Singer is on the verge of doing. She is deeply in love with a boy from a caste below hers and desperately wants to marry him despite the fact that she’ll move down a caste if she does it.
But then the crown prince of the country, Maxon, comes of age and must choose a wife. Which means it’s reality show competition time!
And of all the girls to be chosen, America Singer, the one girl who absolutely wants nothing to do with upward mobility or Prince Maxon, is chosen to represent her district.
So after some circumstances, she goes to the castle and doesn’t even pretend to like Maxon or even try in the competition, which ends up working out for her very, very well.
You guys. I just. I really loved this book. It’s quick and smart and funny and sweet and, in a weird way, rang very true for me. America’s motivations are noble and she’s actually very selfless. And the other girls in the competition are not at all what you would expect. Though there is some catty mean girl-ness that goes down, for the most part the girls bond and support each other, even when they are feeling jealous. Which, though utopian in a way, is sort of the way girls are. (I did pageants for awhile. I know these things.)
And okay, I’ll be honest with y’all, there *is* a very large love triangle. BUT! It’s one I really like. It’s a smart love triangle. It won’t make you groan or roll your eyes or vomit in your mouth. Promise.
The one thing that bothered me about the book is that at the end, instead of just letting the book end, there is a line that says, “END OF BOOK ONE.”
Really? Is that necessary? I think not. Just let the book end. It’s obvious there will be a sequel. It’s fine.
ANYWAY. Overall, this book is tops. It is all of the things. Seriously. It’s definitely in my top three read books of the year thus far. I have, on several occassions, found myself daydreaming about the characters and what their outcomes might be and how I can’t wait to read the sequel, The Elite. In a way, I kind of wish I had waited until next year to read this one so that I could just jump into The Elite straight away.
But if you’re looking for a series to get involved with, I urge you to pick up The Selection.
Seriously. Buy it. Right Now.
*One More Thing!* So, a pilot episode of the TV version of The Selection starring Aimee Teegarden, best known as Julie from my beloved Friday Night Lights, was ordered by, I think, The CW. But it wasn’t picked up. I am THE ANGRY about the fact that it wasn’t picked up.