Series: The Selection #1
Published by Harper Teen on April 24, 2012
Genres: Dystopia, Romance, Young Adult
Length: 8 hours 7 minutes
I admit it. My desire to read The Selection stemmed almost entirely from the cover. I’m a sucker for a pretty cover. And I do like my dystopian. Plus there were good reviews. But mostly, it was the cover.
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.
I’ve been burned plenty reading books because of their beautiful covers, but thankfully The Selection lived up to its cover and then some. I finally grabbed it during Dewey’s 24 hour Read-a-thon and the time just flew. I was quickly addicted to the world and the characters.
The Selection takes place in a light dystopian version of our world. I say light, because so far I haven’t seen anything especially dark.
There’s a pretty rigid class system – people are born into a number and are known by that number almost more than by their name. The numbers go from one to eight, with one being the royal family and eight being the lowest level of society. There are very few ways to change one’s number. A woman takes the number of her husband – regardless of who has the higher number. A person can buy their way up. And a woman can be “lucky” enough to be the right age when the prince is looking for a bride. The prince always marries one of the people, through a process called the selection.
Before starting The Selection I thought that participation was forced on the girls, but turns out they are given the option to submit their names. And, if selected as one of the thirty five that go to the palace to court the prince, they get an immediate upgrade to a number three and their families get financial compensation. Yeah, it’s not ideal, but if you’re comparing to the Hunger Games‘s lottery, it’s looking pretty great to me. So yeah, light dystopian.
America Singer wants nothing to do with the selection though, because she’s already in love. But her family doesn’t know that – in part because they’re fives and the guy she’s fallen in love with – Aspen – is a six. And through a series of events America ends up entering the selection.
I really grew to love America. From the get-go she says she doesn’t care amount numbers and class, she sees people beyond their numbers. And as The Selection progresses, you realize she’s not all talk. She really means that. From the way she relates with her maids – sixes – to the way she isn’t afraid to speak her mind and has no interest in becoming a one, she’s just a genuinely good person who cares about others. What’s not to like?
I don’t care for Aspen. I liked him okay at the beginning, but he has too much pride – which perhaps comes from being a six and having to accept being seen as less so often – but it irked me. In this love triangle there’s no question who I’d pick: Prince Maxon.
Yeah, I know, I picked the prince, big surprise. But just wait. I’m not picking him because he’s the prince. I’m picking him because he’s good and kind and clearly cares about his people. I believe he could be a good ruler and, just as importantly, he respects America enough to listen to her and let her be a good queen. The two of them together could be the start of positive change in this dystopian world.
But it’s not that simple. Not only is America confused about her feelings for Maxon and Aspen, but there’s a bit more going on in the world than we’re privy too. From what we have seen, rebels are launching hard core attacks at the palace and I’m not sure I understand the why of it – I don’t think I’m supposed to. I do suspect that things are going to get really serious on that front as the series continues and I think it will complicate things between Maxon and America. But that’s just a guess.
I’m so excited to read the other books – heading out to buy them ASAP. I would get them from the library but I want to own these books. Because they’re great so far. And… Well… Pretty covers!