By: Kiera Cass
Published By: HarperTeen
Publication Date: April 2012
Page Count: 327
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by HarperCollinsUK via NetGalley
Audience: Young Adult - Fantasy
Sometimes as you are reading a book, you realize that it isn't the most award winning piece of literature out there, but that's ok because you're really enjoying yourself. That's how I felt about The Selection by Kiera Cass.
I liked the mildly dystopian flavor which came across at the beginning; the society here is split up into castes of varying wealth and resources are more limited for the poor. I also liked the idea that the crown Prince would have to pick his new bride from the normal population, in an effort to bring solidarity to the country. Some have said they felt that there was a Hunger Games feeling to the book, and I think that only runs so far as the fact that girls (who have applied to be chosen for the selection presented to the prince) are interviewed on TV in a game show type of atmosphere.
The heroine of the book, America, reluctantly puts herself forward for the selection to please her loving but overbearing mother; I thought that was really amusing and many readers might relate to a fussy mom! I certainly loved her long-suffering father. America doesn't expect to be drawn from the thousands that apply, and really her heart isn't in it when she is picked as she is secretly in love already with the boy from next door, Aspen, who cruelly dumped her over wounded male pride. So she gets sent off to the palace to play a game she isn't interested in, and it makes her really quite amusing to read; she has no qualms about speaking her mind because she isn't worried about being sent home at all, she doesn't worry about not being lady-like and she isn't afraid of chiding the Prince.
Prince Maxon was a charming mix of well rehearsed gentleman and bumbling teenage boy, and his character was endearing. I liked his private chats with America, and I loved the romantic interludes between them. America struggles with what to do as her feelings for Maxon conflict with her feelings for Aspen, and it does seem to be a real dilemma. I will draw a Hunger Games parallel here, because I felt that the choice for America was much like the choice Katniss faced: the guy who has always known you, or the new guy who is going through the same thing you are. I enjoyed it, and I've certainly picked a side!! (Go Team Maxon!!)
The plot was developed well and nicely paced, with little seeds planted that will sprout into very interesting developments in book 2... the rebels, who are they, what do they want, and what is up with Marlee?!
All in all, I thought this was a really fun read which I gobbled up in a matter of hours, and I am looking forward to finding out what happens next!
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.