Tuesday, April 10, 2012
In The Selection, Kiera Cass's first installment of a planned trilogy, seventeen year old America Singer is a Five (out of the Eight castes of the futuristic Illean Society--the U.S. of the future), a musician whose family struggles, but is still better off than her secret love Aspen, who is a Six. Dreaming of a loving future with Aspen, America's world comes crashing down when he realizes the caste is too wide for the two of them to make a go of it and breaks it off with her. But there is no time to be devastated since America has been chosen to represent her district in The Selection: sort of a Survivor/The Bachelor contest wherein Prince Maxon chooses a bride among 35 beautiful, talented young women. And though America really has no interest in being chosen, she does want her family to reap the benefits, so the unconventional young woman strikes a deal with the prince: let her stay as long as possible, and she will become his friend and informant among the girls. Of course a bemused Maxon accepts, the two grow closer, and an attraction breaks out.
The Selection is filled with silly girls vying for Maxon's attention, but it is also filled with America's bubbly spirit and a slow growing romance that had me cheering for both the prince and America. America is everything Maxon really shouldn't want, but the fact that she can talk to him intrigues the prince, and America's realization that perhaps her feelings for him aren't just friendly fuels the burn. And of course there is a love triangle; count me among the Team Maxon folk as Aspen failed to ignite any sympathy after his "noble" dismissal of America early on. Nonetheless, I found a great deal to enjoy in this light-hearted novel; America's headstrong, independent attitude and her own personal growth kept me turning the pages as I needed to see where we are headed. I'm definitely going to be searching for the sequel the moment it's available and recommending this one to anyone who loves a good romance that's also filled with action and led by a strong female. Pick it up now! You'll be glad you did.