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The Selection by Kiera CassMarch 21, 2017
For thirty-four other girls, a chance to be drawn for the Selection is the dream of a lifetime: a chance to glide around in silken ballgowns, to be weighed down with glittering jewels, and most of all, a chance to win Prince Maxon’s heart—if only to be princess for a day. When thirty-four other girls are drawn for the Selection, it will be a dream come true… For thirty-four girls, but not for America Singer.
America and her family of artists and musicians are Fives in Illéa’s caste system, just three castes away from the lowest of the low. When a letter arrives offering an opportunity to enter the Selection, America’s mother couldn’t be more delighted. Despite the generous compensation and life-long fame that the Selection has to offer, America finds the competition ridiculous—after all, America is in love with Aspen Leger. But when Aspen convinces her to put her name in for the contest, America reluctantly complies. She is chosen—and thrown into a whirlpool of cameras, costumes, and royalty. Aspen is torn from America as she’s thrust into this new world, which sparks resentment and her determination to stay in the competition. As the Selection wears on and girls disappear each week, America becomes friends with the prince. America soon discovers that Maxon is much more than the stuffy royal she thought she knew.
In this book, Kiera Cass puts a thrilling spin on the present day Bachelor phenomenon. Cass’s The Selection is set in the strict dystopian country of Illéa. In this society, all citizens must conform to the rules and occupation that their caste requires. As the book continues, two rebel groups—the Northern and Southern rebels—attempt to infiltrate the deep-rooted system, which causes jaw-dropping twists that delve into themes of action, reaction, and breaking conformity. These surprises create a respite from the romance and drama of the rest of the story.
Each character in The Selection is expertly crafted with layers on layers of personality and flaws—this creates unique interactions and makes it challenging to anticipate what will happen next. Cass describes each character with an earnest reality, as if you could run into any of them on the street. America is written as a real teenager struggling to survive in a world built on status and mistrust, with the added complications of having to decide what her heart wants—a life that everyone can relate to at times. As readers enter this story, they will discover that every girl chosen for the Selection yearns to win and is involved in the process for a reason. Cass makes it easy to experience America’s discoveries of the competitors, the rebels, her family, and her country in countless unexpected ways.
There are two books in The Selection series, The Elite and The One, which also feature America’s journey in the Selection. The Heir and The Crown are the two most recent companion novels to the series. These titles focus on Princess Eadlyn Schreave, the first ever female heir to the throne, and the challenges she faces during her Selection. Cass crafts each book in the series with thought and power, making it almost impossible to favor any of the five above one another.
I recommend this book to anyone from the ages twelve and up. The Selection is a dystopian novel, packed with contemporary realistic fiction sub-plots and themes that make the book possible for any reader to enjoy. I adored this read, and the rest of the series, so much that my rating can’t possibly be contained in a simple ten. The Selection series by Kiera Cass certainly deserves the praise it has gotten from readers and critics alike—I strongly believe The Selection has earned its place on the shelf next to other instant YA classics like Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, and The Hunger Games.
Harper Teen, 327 pages
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