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.
The Selection by Kiera Cass is a dystopian book I fell in love with!
This world is set various years in the future and we are told the U.S. was in serious debt to the Chinese. The Chinese got tired of waiting for their money, so they attacked the U.S. and took over. While in a transition state, the Russians saw an opportunity and attacked as well.
A private U.S. citizen, Gregory Illéa, who had a lot wealth and power, fought back the Chinese and Russians, setting the U.S. free. People were tired of their old ways and set out to make a new country, calling it Illea after their hero.
A system of Castes began, and there are a total of Eight Castes with Ones being the richest and most privileged, and the Eights being a little above slaves. At the head of the country are a King and his Queen.
To offset the chances that anyone can be on top, if there ever is an unmarried prince of age, every eligible girl from any Caste can enter a contest called The Selection. In The Selection, the prince chooses thirty-five girls from all the entrants and moves them to his castle. From there, there are several contests and trials the girls must pass before they are chosen the queen.
(Life isn’t so bad for the losers. As a consolation prize, the cast-off girls marry prominent men who can brag their wives made it to The Selection.)
The new system isn’t without it’s problems, though. The rich always want to get richer and suppress everyone else *le sigh* So there are a lot of rebels who constantly attack the palace and try to kill the King and Queen.
We meet America – she’s seventeen and her family are artists. She’s a Five. She lives a good life, though sometimes food and supplies are scarce when they can’t find work. Still, she’s pretty much a happy soul and more importantly she’s in love with Aspen, who’s nineteen and a Six (Servant class).
For two years, they’ve met in secret at America’s tree house. One night, he tells her to enter The Selection as he could never forgive himself if she didn’t take a chance to better her and her family’s life. America goes along with it, amidst pressure from her family who sees it as way to improve their lives. But for America, becoming Prince Maxon’s wife is the furthest thing from her mind. He doesn’t mean anything to her. He’s just a face she sees on TV. America never thinks she’s ever going be chosen and keeps on living her life.
Just when things seem at their brightest and it looks like Aspen is going to ask America to marry him, Aspen tells America that he can no longer be with her. Devastated, America doesn’t have time to process the breakup because she’s told she’s one of the thirty-five girls selected to enter The Selection.
On the day she’s set to leave for the castle, she sees Aspen with another girl! *faints* Determined to put Aspen behind, she goes wholehearted into the contest. It helps that her family gets paid for every week she remains there, so she tries to make the best of it.
On her first night there, all she wants to do is be outside and explore the palace gardens, but the guards tell her she needs to go back to her room. Things are about to escalate until guess who comes along to her rescue? You guessed it, Prince Maxon! *faints*
Even though America’s seen him countless times on TV, nothing prepares her for seeing him in person. He’s nineteen and so handsome, but don’t get too excited, she’s still pining for Aspen and mending her broken heart.
Still, America is honest with Maxon from the get-go and they become fast friends. She tells him she’s just there for the food and he makes a deal with her to keep her around as long as he can so her family can keep getting money. LOL
As time goes by, America forgets all about Aspen and starts falling for Maxon as not only is she doing right by her family, but she sees a chance to change the entire country should she actually win the contest. As you can guess by now, Maxon has fallen for America and is only waiting for her to come around and love him, too. *awww* He’s all sorts of caring and thoughtful to America and her family I can’t stand it *flails*
But just when America is all set to give her heart to Maxon, the unthinkable happens – Aspen shows up at the palace. He’s been drafted into the military and is part of the palace guards! *faints* His status has now changed to that of a Two and he’s dead set on getting America back now that he can provide for her.
But now that America’s in The Selection, she is considered property of the prince. If she’s caught with another man, she could be sentenced to death. But that’s not the worst of her problems. The rest of the girls in the contest will stop at nothing to win Maxon’s heart and the kingdom. Can America rise to the top?
The Selection is all sorts of inventive, and I loved how the author who seems like she is awesome (check out her blog), went to such lengths to create such an amazing world. I love all the flaws that come with this “utopia” the government is pushing on the people. Love how everyone is just on the brink of a riot, the rebels keep attacking the palace, and yet in the backdrop we have this little bachelor contest going on, distracting the people from the true problems in society.
Plus, you know how much I love a love triangle. I can’t get enough of Prince Maxon and Aspen! *le pants* Who is America going to choose?
I can’t wait to see what happens in book two, The Elite!
The Selection Features:
- Young Adult
- making out
- no sexual content
“Lady America?” a voice called.
The other heads in the room turned to the voice, which belonged to Prince Maxon. I was shocked that he’d address me, or any of us, so casually and in front of the others.
What was worse than being called out so unexpectedly was that my mouth was full of food. I covered my mouth with my hand and chewed as quickly as I could manage. It couldn’t have been more than a few seconds, but with so many eyes on me, it felt like an eternity. I noted Celeste’s smug face as she watched me. I must have looked like an easy kill in her eyes.
“Yes, Your Majesty?” I replied as soon as I had most of it swallowed.
“How are you enjoying the food?” Maxon seemed on the verge of laughter, either from my bewildered expression or because he’d brought up a detail from our very first and highly unauthorized conversation.
I tried to stay calm myself. “It’s excellent, Your Majesty. This strawberry tart … well, I have a sister who loves sweets more than I do. I think she’d cry if she tasted this. It’s perfect.”
Maxon swallowed a bite of his own breakfast and leaned back in his chair. “Do you really think she would cry?” He seemed exceedingly amused at the idea. He did have strange feelings toward women and crying.
I thought about it. “Yes, actually, I do. She doesn’t have much of a filter when it comes to her emotions.”
“Would you wager money on it?” he asked quickly. I noticed the heads of every girl turning back and forth between us like they were watching a game of tennis.
“If I had any to bet, I certainly would.” I smiled at the idea of betting over someone else’s tears of joy.
“What would you be willing to barter instead? You seem to be very good at striking deals.” He was enjoying this little game. Fine. I’d play.
“Well, what do you want?” I posed. Then I wondered what in the world I could offer someone who had everything.
“What do you want?” he countered.
Now that was a fascinating question. Almost as interesting as thinking about what I could offer Maxon was what he could offer me. He had the world at his disposal. So what did I want?
I wasn’t a One, but I was living like I was. I had more food than I could finish and the most comfortable bed I could imagine. People were waiting on me hand and foot, whether I liked it or not. And if I needed anything, all I had to do was ask.
The only thing I really wanted was something that made this place feel like less of a palace. If my family were running around somewhere, or if I wasn’t so done up. I couldn’t ask for my family to visit. I’d only been here a day.
“If she cries, I want to wear pants for a week,” I offered.
Everyone laughed, but in a quiet, polite way. Even the king and queen seemed to find my request amusing. I liked the way the queen looked at me, like I was less of a foreigner to her now.
“Done,” Maxon said. “And if she doesn’t, you owe me a walk around the grounds tomorrow afternoon.”
A walk on the grounds? That was it? It didn’t seem like anything special to me. I remembered what Maxon had said last night, that he was guarded. Maybe he didn’t know how to just ask a girl for time alone. Maybe this was his way of navigating something very alien to him.
Someone next to me made a disapproving sound. Oh. I realized that if I lost, I’d be the first person to officially get time one-on-one with the prince. Part of me wanted to renegotiate, but if I was going to be helpful—as I’d promised him—I couldn’t brush off his first attempts at trying to date.
“You drive a hard bargain, sir, but I accept.”
Rating: 5 Kisses