The Selection – Kiera Cass
*Warning – may contain spoilers*
Author: Kiera Cass
Publisher: Harper Collins
First published: 2012
Cover: Paperback (and I must add, the cover is stunning!)
Blurb: In a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels, The Selection is the chance of a lifetime: to compete for the gorgeous Prince Maxon’s heart. But for America Singer, it means turning her back on her secret love, and leaving home for a prize she doesn’t want.
Then America meets Maxon and all her plans start to crumble. Can the life she’s always dreamed of compare to a future she never imagined?
History of my copy: Along with Reasonsto Stay Alive, The Selection was one of the three books I bought with my Waterstones gift card, and a little of my own money.
To all my friends, this book is the kind of book I should hate. Honestly, I told one of my best friends about it, and he actually laughed (well, it was through text but judging by his words, he was totally laughing. Although it wasn’t as great as his reaction to The Lunar Chronicles…) But, contrary to popular belief, despite everything, I am still a teenage girl, and we all need a soppy, love triangle from time to time, right?
Plot: Seriously though, this is the kind of book even I think I should hate, but I actually loved it! I’m not a fan of reality TV shows at all, but something about this book made it all okay. It follows America Singer as she leaves her family and home behind to enter a competition to become Princess of Illéa, along with 35 other girls. She becomes a friend to the Prince and thus he keeps her in the competition for her companionship, and as a favour so that she can continue to be away from her previous love, Aspen. However, unsurprisingly, Prince Maxon ends up developing feelings for her, and she for him, so America makes it down to The Elite for reasons that are no longer to do with friendship.
Along with the inevitable competition between the girls and dates between them and Maxon, there are also rebel attacks on the palace, which gives rise to a reason for some of the girls to not be his wife. It’s an interesting twist, and shows that not every fairy-tale is happy and safe.
Setting: One thing I loved about this book in particular was its setting. As a dystopian novel, it can be hard to create a unique world. This one involves castes, which dictate your jobs, and therefore income. America is a five and therefore belongs to the artists of the country. I found this world immersive and it had just enough similarities to make it comfortable and not forced. It also made it more believable.
Characters: First to the main character, America Singer. A lot of people complain about her name, along with many others in this book, but I see no problem with it. She’s named after the country Illéa used to be, there’s no issue with that. There is also the issue that America Singer is a singer. However, surnames used to come from the jobs and personality of the people, or they certainly did in Britain, so it only makes sense that a family of artists would have the surname Singer.
I liked America a lot. Her character was developed, she was funny and she was brave. Unlike most YA romance books, she didn’t spend 90% of the book whining over her oh so difficult love life, which is a huge bonus!
I also liked Prince Maxon. It was nice to see a Prince that wasn’t perfect, and had clearly never been allowed to date girls before, or had the time. He had his flaws, and it was entirely realistic that he had no idea how to deal with crying girls!
As for a character I disliked, unlike many I’m not going to put Celeste. At least she was different! There were many girls in the book that seemed identical, and were only there to make up the numbers. They were all pretty, polite and lady-like *yawn*. I understand that they’re there just to make the competition bigger, but a little more individuality would have been nice.
To read or not to read: Read. I really enjoyed this book. It was an easy read and quite funny. I am really looking forward to reading The Elite, and I do hope we get to learn more about the Queen in it! If you’re looking for a romantic, easy-to-read book, go for this one. You won’t be disappointed!