For thirty-five girls, the Selection is a 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 hand of a gorgeous prince
America Singer is a 5. This means she is a member of the artistic caste and there are still 3 castes below her. Her secret boyfriend, Aspen, is a 6, a servant. It’s very unlikely that a 5 will marry a 6 and be happy. Then comes the Selection.
Aspen encourages America to enter, and she reluctantly does because she believes she has no chance of being selected from her province. When she is selected, her life and her family’s lives change forever. She is whisked away to the palace along with 34 other girls. They are now the property of the government until they are sent home by the prince as he determines which will be his queen.
If I had to compare this well-written and intriguing romance to anything, it would be the Bachelor meets the Hunger Games. The girls don’t fight each other, but one is selected from each province and the whole meeting and speed-dating process is televised, much like the Bachelor.
As America meets the prince and slowly gets to know him, her opinion of the whole process changes, and when rebels attack the palace and the prince, mindful of the dangers, sends home all but six girls, things begin to get complicated. Also, Aspen has been drafted to be a palace guard and is reunited to a degree with America. The main characters are fully developed, although we don’t really get to know the majority of the other selected girls.
As America begins to understand palace life, she begins to see there is no black and white easy answer to anything and much of what she has been told about the prince and the royal family contradicts what she experiences firsthand. I, for one, am eager for the sequel. Ages 13 and up
Reviewed by Alice L. Cyphers, Librarian and Reading Specialist, Pennsylvania, USA
************** I almost gave this one up....it took me a few chapters to get into it, but once I did, I couldn’t put it down.....this is probably the only reason I give it 4 stars instead of 5. I picked this book up based on it’s popularity, seeing it on blogs for months, as well as it’s GORGEOUS cover!
I was a little reluctant, worried that it would just be a carbon copy of particular reality shows that are so popular these days (yes, I watch them!!). However, I was pleasantly surprised to find a great story, some mystery, and a beautiful romance blooming in it’s pages!
* The first thing that I liked about The Selection was America, the lead female. She’s a hopeless romantic, deeply in love, and so dedicated to her family, and to Aspen. But loving Aspen has to be a secret. America is a 5 in the post-WWIII country of Illea and Aspen was born into a 6 family. For America to date someone in a lower caste class would be damaging. But it is Aspen who convinces America to apply for The Selection. The process by which the Prince of Illea, Maxon, will choose his future Queen. * The next thing that drew me in, and that had me turning the corner on this book, keeping me from putting it down, was the turning point in Aspen and America’s relationship, which sends America off to the palace to vie for the attention of Prince Maxon. But America wants nothing to do with Prince Maxon, and has no desire to be the next Queen of Illea. But America knows that being at the palace is what her family needs, and it is this sacrifice that I admired so much. But I was totally in awe of America’s brutal honesty with Maxon, and his beautiful reaction to her and her sincerity. * Next is the wonderful friendship that America and Maxon create. It’s honest, it’s open, it’s real, and it’s what all relationships should be based on. As the reader, I loved watching it grow and become more. * I also really enjoyed the refreshing innocence of Prince Maxon. He was not at all created arrogant like the bachelors of reality TV, nor near as experienced. Fumbling through his first kiss was so sweet and endearing. It was easy to fall in love with him as a reader. * Another thing that really captured my attention was the mystery in the story. Illea has been going through rounds of attacks. Some from the North and some from the South. The attacks are the mystery. The palace isn’t quite sure what the attackers are seeking. I look forward to this mystery playing out in the sequel!
I thoroughly enjoyed The Selection. I thought the end was a little rushed, and of course I’m never happy when I get to a cliff-hanger and then have to wait for the sequel!! The Elite is expected to be published in April of 2013. A third book, yet to be titled, is slated for 2014.
This and other reviews at http://www.whatireadyesterday.com
Mrs. Shawn Lane, Librarian, Texas USA
Read alike: The Glittering Court Trilogy by Richelle Mead