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 started this book and already knew what was going to come in the next two books, but that didn’t deter me from reading. The Selection was a fun, light read. Something to just lay down on the couch and read in one sitting. This book series and Aimee Carter’s The Blackcoat Rebellion run in the same circles, but The Selection has more elaborate dresses and drama among a group of girls from different castes.
So, what is young adult without the internal struggle between the affections towards the hometown sweetheart and gorgeous royalty? The Selection hosts just that. America struggles between holding onto her love for the boy back home, Aspen, while new affections blossom for the heart of the beautiful prince. And, America, is stuck in a rut between the two of them. Typical. Cue the eye-rolls. But because I wasn’t really reading for depth, I bypassed the love triangle and just focused more on America and Maxon, the drama between the girls, and the background story with the rebels.
I’ve seen castes before in young adult novels–The Hunger Games, Divergent, Pawn–and The Selection is no different where tiers determine your livelihood, your occupation, and how destitute or wealthy you are. Yet the Selection allows for different young people in ranging castes at a chance to win the heart of the prince. A chance of a lifetime to exit the gutter and enter the world of opulence. Or to break away from routine and establish change with the power of the monarchy.
America is a difficult character to find yourself adoring. She is stubborn, gullible, and unable to make a decision, afraid of the commitment. Yet, she is compassionate to those around her. She treats her maids like people rather than slaves. She is worried for their well-being during rebel attacks. And her connection with her family is not only grounding, but it is refreshing and adorable. While her narrative can be a bit deterring to read, America can still come across as a likeable character from time to time when she is not looming on her affections between Aspen and Maxon or too deeply swayed with the luxury rather than the life and the loved ones she left back home in poverty and poor conditions under the law.
Final Summation: I really enjoyed The Selection, and I found it to be a quick, light weekend read. I liked the bachelor aspects brought about in the book, the drama that ran rampant, and the blooming romantic feelings between America and Maxon. I know America’s attitude and the love triangle is going to get on my nerves, but I still look forward to the second installment in this series.