"When we got the letter in the post, my mother was ecstatic.
She had already decided that all our problems were solved, gone forever.
The big hitch in her brilliant plan was me."
"I didn't want to be royalty.
And I didn't want to be a One.
I didn't even want to try."
In the book which is often described as "The Hunger Games meets the Bachelor," Kiera Cass tells the story of America Singer, a middle-class girl living in a prejudice society which is run by a mostly-inoperative monarchy.
It is every girl's dream to marry a prince and become a princess. Every girl, that is, except for America Singer. America is a stubborn seventeen-year-old girl who hates doing what she's told. When her family received a letter informing them that America was eligible to enter The Selection--a competition between thirty-five other girls between the ages of sixteen and twenty to compete for the prince's hand in marriage--America wanted nothing to do with it. The odds of getting selected were slim (about the equivalent to someone winning a lottery), but America didn't even want to try.
Not only did she despise the thought of leaving her life behind and having to marry the seemingly stuffy Prince Maxon, but America also had a secret; she was in love with Aspen, a nineteen-year-old boy who was a caste below her. The caste system, numbering from One as the highest to Eight as the lowest, was taken very seriously. America was a Five and Aspen was a Six, meaning that a marriage between the two of them would not be a praised one.
After a series of events and a plethora of persuasion, America decided to enter the Selection. Lo and behold, she got...well...selected. From that moment on, America's world turned upside down and her life changed forever.
Just like every YA fiction novel, there were things I loved about this book and things I couldn't stand. Rather than trying to get super analytical and critical (much like the people who write reviews on Goodreads...those readers are scary!), I decided to simply write up a Pros & Cons list on The Selection.
- story was very fast-paced; it never felt like it was dragging
- most of the Selected girls were very relatable; they felt real
- had a different feel to it; wasn’t just like The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Mortal Instruments, etc.
- lots of drama
- the maids reminded me of the maids in Downton Abbey and I don’t know how that’s relevant but I liked them so I’m making this a “pro”
- decent character development between America and Maxon
- May. So many giggles while reading her dialogue.
- entertaining minor characters
- because the story moved quickly, more could have happened
- the teenage girls were SO REAL (aka: annoying)
- really weird character names
- mostly romance; not a lot of action
- very...very...very much like The Bachelor *cringe*
- lots of drama
- relationship between America and Aspen was way too dry (and physical)
- unclear background story about Illéa as a nation
- love triangle was very forced and cliché
All in all, I appreciated this book. While it didn't exactly give me a sense of purpose or bestow any life lessons upon me, it provided me with girly entertainment and I loved it. Other than two short make-out scenes, this book didn't try to be sexy and I greatly appreciated that. Also, the friendship-that-grows-into-something-more between Maxon and America is adorable. I have to say, though, my favorite relationship was the father-daughter relationship between America and her dad. It warmed my heart, and some aspects of it reminded me of my own relationship with my dad. I loved it.
I give The Selection 4 stars and suggest you read it if you're looking for a sweet story that will entertain you
and leave you wishing you could own a closet full of beautiful palace dresses.