Available Copies: Downtown Teen, 3rd Floor, Pittsfield Teen
"Sixteen-year-old America Singer is living in the caste-divided nation of Illea, which formed after the war that destroyed the United States. America is chosen to compete in the Selection--a contest to see which girl can win the heart of Illea's prince--but all she really wants is a chance for a future with her secret love, Aspen, who is a caste below her"-- Provided by publisher.
This book was absolutely amazing. The story includes the U.S.A society turned monarchy. I was enthralled by the royalty and caste system. Along with politics is an amazing love story. The book follows main character America through "the selection", a competition to marry to the prince and become queen (something America didn't think she ever wanted). America's story is one of complications and the constant struggle between what head and heart. With characters so real you'd expect them to jump off the page, and a twisting plot filled with love and rebellion, "The Selection" is a must read.
I read a lot of the books put out on the teen lit shelves-- which means I end up with a lot of weak characters, immature attitude, and pointless plots. Usually I can't finish most of the books I pick up. So, my expectations were low when I picked up "The Selection".
Overall, I was surprised by the characters. I'm so used to (and tired of) whiny female characters accompanied by idiotic, thick male characters. However, I found this cast of characters likable and realistic. Were they perfect? Nope, but real people aren't supposed to be. Did America always make the best decisions and keep her emotions in check during every second of the book? Nope.
And that's what I liked about it. I appreciated America's perspective and her decisions; even if I wouldn't make the same choices she did, I could easily see other people who would under similar circumstances.
(I also liked the other characters, but since the story is America's, her character is the one you spend the most time with.)
I enjoyed Cass's writing and the world she created. It was a good story and it surprised me-- which is why I appreciate it so much.
Not a book I'd pick up to read again, and I don't think I'll read the sequel. The love triangle seems too forced, too clearly an author manipulation, and to be honest, I didn't care for either of the love interests. I was more interested in how the women who are Chosen get along, and how class differences would play out among them, but that's not really what this book wanted to be about. It had some of that, but on a very superficial level. I wish this book had more teeth to really dig into the issue.
The idea seems sort of original, but I don't think it's completely developed. Differences between the language and attitude of the different social classes are completely nonexistent. A prince is described to be speaking with "formality," but his grammar is no different from "casual" to "formal." The fact that there seems to be an untold story--with an already adoring boyfriend involved--I feel as if I have been plopped into the middle of an ongoing conversation. Read a couple chapters, then quit. Too flaky.
This book definitely reminded me of The Bachelor but I loved it. Even though this book is supposed to be dystopian, there aren't many dystopian qualities in the book. I'm assuming that book 2 will contain more dystopian qualities. I loved the romance in this book and foudn it to be quite interesting. This book is a Must-Read!