Title: The Selection (The Selection, #1)
Author: Kiera Cass
Pages: 336 pages
Genre: Young Adult (Dystopia)
Date Published: April 24th, 2012
Summary (from Goodreads)
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 a palace and compete for the heart of 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.
When I first read the summary to this book, I expected it to be something similar to The Hunger Games but more into cattiness instead of actual brutality...and I wasn't wrong. The Selection began a little slow for me, but for some reason that took fed the girly girl in me and I started to like America the more she interacts with Maxon.
The whole concept does seem a little weak compared to other book series' but that's what I find charming about it. It's not pretentious in it being a princess competition, with an added layer of political turmoil on top. I like the fact that the book focuses on the inner issues that the Selection girls are going through instead of the general political issues. We see two sides of the coin, with America championing the "poor" and Maxon representing the privileged. It was nice to see them interact with each other with very few hitches. The whole "we're two different so we can't be decent with each other and get along at all" is starting to get old with these young adult romances.
It's set in a fantasy world, an alternate reality where China invaded the US, but it's still somehow realistic in the issues that the characters tackle. There's the castes, pageantry hoopla, the complexities of "reality shows", all presented in a realistic plate.
The characters represent different personalities that one might encounter in an actual pageant, but what struck me the most was Prince Maxon. His personality was genuine and regal, almost too perfect except for certain times when he loses his cool and that just adds more to his realism. Aspen and America breaking up seemed a little underwhelming, and then having to hear that America's suspicions were wrong was a little frustrating but I stand by her decision in the end. She's not just doing this for her family, but also for herself and the best thing she can do is to see herself through it.
I'm really excited to read the second book, and i'm hyping myself up for The One. The whole concept seems a little unconventional as far as dytopic/fantasy Young Adult books go but I guess that's what I like about this series.