The Selection (The Selection #1) by Kiera Cass
For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape a rigid caste system, 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, and competing for a crown she doesn’t want.
Then America meets Prince Maxon—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.
When Prince Maxon of Illea is ready to find a wife girls country-wide are encouraged to enter "The Selection", a competition that's like a mash-up of The Bachelor and The Hunger Games (minus the whole death part).
America Singer, a five on the scale of Illea's caste system where the lower your number is, the more privileged and easy your life is, wants nothing to do with The Selection. To her, Maxon seems stuck up and shallow. Besides, for the past two years she's been secretly dating Aspen, a six - the servant caste one peg lower than America's 'artists and musicians' caste. But America's parents would never approve the match because sixes are even poorer than fives and starvation is a reality sixes face on a near daily basis.
When Aspen tells America he wants her to enter The Selection because he'd never forgive himself if she had a chance for a better life, America reluctantly agrees while believing there's no chance that she would ever be picked.
Nobody is more shocked than America when her name is announced as one of The Selected. Suddenly America is pulled into a new world full of things she never could have imagined could be hers. She's whisked away to the palace in Angeles where she meets her fellow contestants and has her first taste of privileged life. When she meets Prince Maxon she realizes that her preconceived opinion couldn't be more wrong - but can she forget about the boy she loves back home? The one who broke her heart and she's not sure still loves her at all?
Will America remain in The Selection? Or will the sudden reappearance of the boy she thought she'd lost make her abandon the friendship - and more- that's forming between her and Prince Maxon?
I was very surprised to find that I loved this book as much as I did. Dystopian novels aren't really something I like but the Bachelor-esqe competition almost made me forget the dystopian theme altogether. From the moment America meets Maxon I was hoping that he would win her over and she would forget all about Aspen. There's enough girl-drama between the characters to please anyone who likes watching reality dating competitions and America's first taste of palace life and all of the new experiences she encounters - even with the underlying sense of danger - kept me turning pages late into the night.
I loved Marlee as well as America's maids, Anne, Mary, and Lucy and I can't wait to see more of them in The Elite (The Selection #2). I'm dying to know if America and Marlee's friendship will continue or if some obstacle will tear them apart. Coming into this series late in the game after Maxon and America's story concludes I sort of already know how this Selection will wrap up but I'm eager to follow the journey all the way through.
The only thing I didn't like so much about this novel is that, like many other novels, we find a character that everyone else thinks is beautiful but America doesn't see herself as anything other than plain. I understand that America's humbleness is part of what Maxon likes about her but the whole beautiful-girl-doesn't-know-she's-beautiful plot has been done over and over again in YA novels.
Overall I loved this book so much and I recommend it to anyone who: likes dystopian romance novels, loves watching reality dating competions like The Bachelor, or anyone looking for a great cross between a fairytale love story and danger-filled dystopian novel.
My Rating 5 of 5 Stars