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 didn't expect to like this book as much as I did. That's a big part of the reason I've put off reading it for so long. Kiera Cass creates a world in which caste systems rule the lives of everyone, and the country as a whole is run by a monarch. The main character, America, is convinced by her secret boyfriend to enter the Selection, which is basically a drawing for an episode of the Bachelor, where the Bachelor is the prince. Obviously, based off of the blurb on the back of the book, she get's chosen as one of the thirty-five candidates. Throughout the book she's torn between her growing feelings towards prince Maxon, and her old love Aspen. Half the time she's bold, and unafraid of what to say, which I really like. Her meeting with the prince starts off this way and it's was a great way to get the two to meet in my opinion. She comes from a lower caste, so certain things are new to her and a huge luxury, like the food and the clothes. This is where I had a slight problem with the story, in that if she's such a low caste, and food is still hard enough for them to come by (it's mentioned they can't afford for anyone to have seconds at the dinner table) then how come they have popcorn? And why does she have her own room? How big is this house they live in? What kind of neighborhood do they live in if Aspen is able to sneak past curfew into her backyard without being seen practically every night? These questions don't get answered, and it detracts from this visual that her family is really going through such a hard time. I would have at least liked it mentioned that popcorn was cheap, or something like that. And that they're house was small but because her two older siblings were gone she was able to have her own room. Another thing that bugged me was how Aspen ended things with her, and why. He got upset because he's the male, and men are the ones who are supposed to be providing. Huh? In a society where literally every family member's income counts (including a teenager daughter--America gives her money to her family for food and supplies) how could this still be such a huge thing? Especially to someone like Aspen? Yes, it's mentioned he likes taking care of people and takes all the responsibility on his own shoulders. But, he comes off as the type of guy who respects people, meaning I doubt he'd disrespect her so much. Ok, it moved the plot, so while it's upsetting, I still don't hate it. Still, it was annoying. I liked Maxon a lot. He's nothing like the stuffy prince that America thought he was, and I like that he's willing to give her time instead of trying to force her to make a decision. He tries to understand, and he treats them all well. It is a little weird that he calls them, "my dear", because he is still a teen, and apparently bad with women, so that comes off a little creepy....But that's not too important. Basically, I liked it, it flowed well, and I read the whole book in one night. I think America could be a good leader, because she notices things about the caste systems and about people that others over look. I would recommend this to anyone who wants a fast, fun and light read. It's not literary fiction by any means, but it's a cute story with an interesting world and interesting characters.