Another month, another book read. The Selection (book 1 of 5) by Kiera Cass is a fairly traditional young adult dystopian/romance novel with a young female protagonist, America Singer, and is a surprisingly good read. America is, via lottery, selected for a competition, which could easily be described as dystopian death match meets The Bachelor (yep, that happened). Much to America’s surprise and dismay, she is chosen as one of 35 girls to compete for Prince Maxon’s heart and, as a result, a princess (and eventually queen) of a future version of the United States. Illéa, a monarchical nation with a stringent caste system where 8 (mentally/physically disabled people, addicts, runaways, illegitimates, and the homeless) is the lowest and 1 (royalty and religious figures) is the highest.
American (a 5) is secretly dry humping (nothing too descriptive) and in love with her boyfriend Aspen (a 6). They go through a bad breakup driven by his insecurities about his current and future state of poverty caused by the institutionalized caste system and the story really begins. America is chosen and uses the reality show to escape heartbreak for a while with no intention of winning and no interest in the (very handsome) young prince.
Unlike the (often vapid) contestants on reality dating series, America has no interest in winning the competition and is privately honest about this fact with Prince Maxon. But the girl is practical; she leverages the competition to send much needed food and money to her family, who are constantly near poverty because of their caste. Out of this arrangement blooms a secret friendship then subsequent romantic feelings, this progression is actually engaging and really awesome to read.
I really liked this book, as evident by the fact that I binge read it in two days. The writing style is easy to follow, the inner voice of the female lead is not overwhelmingly annoying, and the supporting characters add value.
I was so excited by this story that I immediately picked up by The Elite to read, though I was disappointed in the love triangle and America’s inner voice in this sequel. If not for the fact I was swamped by other life projects, I would have finished. I am a person that requires literary closure. Plus I hear the story improves in book 3, The One and the flip is completely switched in book 4, The Heir (releasing May 5th)!
If you like the occasional YA novel (like myself), appreciate an unexpected love story, dig a female protagonist who does not realize her affect on boys, and need a quick and relaxing read: Go ahead and pick up this book. I don’t think you will be disappointed (well, not until book 2 at least).
Post Scriptum:When Prince Maxon starts catching feelings for America with his little cute self, I was like “YEAH BABY!”
Post Post Scriptum:The movie rights were purchased by Warner Brothers, now I have to finish the series.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.