I needed a break from the books I was reading and this set by Keira Cass has been waiting patiently on my bookshelf. It looked light and fluffy, so I went for it. And I’m very glad I did.
The Selection isn’t my typical fare. It’s nothing I would’ve considered reading on my own, but thankfully it is highly recommended. It also isn’t a book I would say is perfect for everyone… you have to be in the mood for this, or to really have it be your genre.
So what genre is it? Dystopian romance, if that is a thing? It’s The Hunger Games meets The Bachelor. 35 Girls enter The Selection to win the heart of the Prince and become the next princess of Illea. There are also rebels from the north and south that are attacking the palace for some reason… oh wait, probably because this is America in the future after the fourth world war, and the whole of society is on a caste system.
Our heroine is America Singer. She is a 5, which means she is three steps above dirt, one step above being a maid, and really far behind from being a 1 (Royalty). The numbers were a little confusing at first because they aren’t explained until a few pages in… this was fine though, as I prefer not to get a full history lesson until I’m invested in the characters, which is exactly what happens. America, who looks like Brittany Snow in my head, is a beautiful girl with a stunning voice that gets selected in the lottery process and has just lost her boyfriend Aspen (who is a 6… a servant level caste boy) because he wants to provide for her and doesn’t see it working out due to a bunch of things. (Yes, intentionally vague summary.)
America doesn’t make friends easy, and doesn’t trust a lot of the girls there. She decides the other girls are in it either for the crown or the money, but not necessarily for the prince. And because she just had her heart broken, she isn’t ready to be in the game. Not really. Until she is. Because obviously she needs to get over Aspen, and the Prince is pretty princely.
The girls aren’t full on Mean Girls to each other, but yet they also are. Especially Celeste. Celeste has her eyes on the prize. Celeste wants to be not just the princess, but the queen.
And America just wants snacks and a friend. She’s been in a caste that doesn’t get a lot of luxuries, so much like in the Hunger Games, food is a big deal. And she tells Prince Maxon so. They become fast friends, or at least from her point of view.
Okay, enough of the summary!
What did I think about this book aside from liking it? It was a fun read, and really engaging. It in fact was the light and fluffy read that I was looking for, but with the odd twist of having rebels and attacks around The Bachelor set. It was predictable. And the history of the country and its changes is explained in bits and pieces, thankfully, so that you don’t have to read through it all at once. The author times this well because by the chapter where you are getting etiquette lessons and history trivia along with the ladies, you are already invested in the story.
The banter and building relationship between America and Prince Maxon is instant by not insta-love. They are friends first, and she is awkwardly honest to a fault. Again, there is a lot of predictability, but there is a great comfort in that. I wasn’t looking for a book to blow my mind away with girls in tulle and taffeta. I would have liked a little more character building with a few of the characters, a few more details about the Prince’s time with the other girls, but at least for this book (I’m not sure about the others) this book is from America’s perspective. She, the royal family, and her own family are well described and likable. And since it is a trilogy, there could be a lot more coming my way.
As for how I hope it will end… Right now I am Team Maxon. Aspen’s insecurity told me all I needed to know about him, and I haven’t cared for him since. If that break up, that awful hissy fit of insecure masculinity was his instinct… I don’t believe he’s capable of real change. But I guess we will see!
I liked it, and I am ready to move on to the second book in the trilogy. Happy hunger games!