Paperback, 327 pages
Published June 7th, 2012 by HarperCollins Children’s books
Tag line: In a palace of rivals, only one can win his heart . . .
The setting is Illéa, a futuristic USA (at least I think it is the USA). It is governed by a monarchy, and has adopted a caste-like system. People are numbered from one to eight – the ones being at the top of the social chain, the eights at the bottom.
America Singer and her family are fives. Fives are generally creative and make their money from the arts. America’s family are no exception – she is quite the songstress, as well as being able to play a variety of instruments.
Being a five doesn’t particularly bother America. She is happy pursuing the arts, helping her family make a living and (drumroll) spending time with her secret boyfriend Aspen, who is (shock, horror) a six. It is unusual for girls to marry into a class lower than their own, but America is confident that they will find a way to be together.
If it weren’t for the Selection, a nation wide search for a bride for Prince Maxon, all may have gone to plan.
Suddenly, America is pulled from her simple life and thrust into the spotlight as one of thirty five girls competing for the title of princess of Illéa on a reality television program called the Selection. She doesn’t want to win Prince Maxon’s heart, as she is still pining over her beloved Aspen, but finds herself quite enjoying his company. They strike a deal, of sorts, and soon become friends. But remember, this is a dashing prince, and they are in an amazing castle, and poor America is succumbing to his charms . . .
Look, okay, The Selection is another love triangle. It is also the beginning of another series (I never want to reread the first books in a series when the next installment comes out and so I forget who everyone is and what’s happened previously, plus some sequels just aren’t very good!). This has had some bad reviews – some scathing reviews, in fact – but hasn’t everything?
Honestly, I really enjoyed this. America is a nice, down to earth, balanced character. She is loyal and humble and carries herself well in the snake pit that is the Selection. Plus, she makes a good decision in respect to the love triangle (although that could get messy in book two). It’s nice to see a romance blossoming from a friendship, as opposed to this we-just-met-but-I-am-so-deeply-in-Love-with-you scenario I see so often.
Also, there are some government level issues going on too, with rebels randomly attacking the castle. I am excited for this to be developed in book two. (I’m kind of hoping that America somehow ends up among the rebels.)
I think you will enjoy this if you are able to just go into it with an open mind and accept the story for what it is.