The Selection by Kiera Cass
Series: The Selection #1
Genre: Dystopia, YA
Length: 8 hours and 7 minutes
Narrator: Amy Rubinate
Author's Website | Facebook
Buy it: Amazon | Kindle | B&N | Book Depo
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
America Singers is a 5 in a world where a rigid caste system is the norm. As a 5, her family focuses on the arts but still find life quite a struggle. America has been secretly dating Aspen, a 6, for two years and she hopes he will propose marriage though she knows she would then be forced to be a 6 and likely to struggle much more. In the meantime, the Selection has arrived. The Selection is a process where a number of girls are selected to compete for the Prince's affection and ultimately the crown. Being chosen brings a chance to move up on the caste system. At the very least, the money from participating goes a long way to help struggling families. Aspen demands that America at least enters the drawing and America's mother desperately wants her to enter to help the family.To appease her mother and Aspen, America enters the selection never thinking she would be chosen. She is of course chosen. America reluctantly leaves her family to participate in the process only intending to remain long enough to give her family a head start financially. America soon realizes that things are not as they seem, especially Prince Maxon. A process that seems driven by vanity and societal games isn't that at all. America makes friends and learns more about her country. Everyone has different reasons for participating in the selection. America tries to navigate this new world not sure of anything anymore.
On the story...
I loved this book quite a bit. Not a bit. A lot. Despite the love triangle.
The characters are well-developed and I loved being introduced to characters I could fall in love with. America is interesting because she doesn't fall in love overnight and most of her actions are done to help her family. She's honest, has a great sense of humor, and her head is on straight. She is a bit indecisive when it comes to the Prince Maxon and Aspen but it is understandable. Though I certainly do not agree. Aspen does not hold a candle to Prince Maxon. Prince Maxon reminds me of Peeta. He's smart, sweet, and kind. I loved how his character developed. Yes, Aspen reminds me of Gale but only because he's the guy from home. I might be horribly biased (I am) but Aspen seemed a bit shady to me. Team Maxon over here. The plot was surprisingly exciting. I know I mentioned The Bachelor (which I do not watch) but it is like that without being like that (that totally makes sense). There are secrets and hints of violence. The world building is fantastic.
But this story is intriguing and fantastic for another reason. In most, if not all, dystopian books the heroine eventually rebels against the oppressive/controlling society and the love interests are usually two different guy personalities on the same side as the heroine; though, they may have different ideas on how to tackle the problematic society). Essentially, in most dystopians, the reader knows where things stand and there is a goal but we just don't know how the characters will get there.
This one is so not like that. Here we see a whole lot of grey. The society and the caste system is definitely oppressive and controlling but we aren't quite sure who the "bad" guys are. The royal family which rules the society and helps it maintain the status quo appears to be really great sensitive people. There are violent rebel folks but there is much to learn about them. On top of that, Maxon is part of the oppressive society, I think. I'm not sure what I'm rooting for going forward. This story doesn't actually fit the formula. I'm looking forward to seeing where this one goes.
Honestly, I wish I could do a better job with this review. True love is so complicated sometimes.
On the narrator...
I enjoyed Ms. Rubinate. Her voices were distinct and they drew me into the story. I would definitely look for her in the future.
A fabulous fab-tastic read that I almost missed. I actually considered writing an email to Ms. Cass and begging her to tell me what's going to happen. But that's probably rude. And I don't think it will work.
“I couldn't joke about the person who'd saved me from facing absolute heartbreak at home, who fed my family boxes of sweets, who ran to me worried that i was hurt if I asked for him.
A month ago, I had looked at the TV and seen a stiff, distant, boring person-someone I couldn't imagine anyone loving. And while he wasn't anything close to the person I did love, he was worthy of having someone to love in his life.” ― America Singer, The Selection
“What do you think my chances might be of finding a soul mate in the group of you? I'll be lucky if I can just find someone who'll be able to stand me for the rest of our lives. What if I've already sent her home because I was relying on some sort of spark I didn't feel? What if she's waiting to leave me at the first sign of adversity? What if I don't find anyone at all? What do I do then, America?” ― Prince Maxon, The Selection
P.S. This goes toward that Dystopia challenge that I committed to. That's all folks! Summaries and final thoughts on this challenge (and the others) to come.