In The Selection we are introduced to America Singer, who comes from a musical family and is in one of the poorest castes imaginable, a Five. Although America is in love with Aspen Leger, a Six, marrying below your caste as a female is not only frowned upon by society, it dooms you to a poorer, harder life than the one you’ve known growing up. When America is ‘selected’ to be a part of the competition to win the heart of Prince Maxon, it’s the opportunity to lift her family out of poverty forever and lose her only love in the process. What’s a girl to do?
If it sounds at all like this book reads like The Hunger Games meets The Bachelor, you’re right. Cass has pinpointed her audience and this book does a great job of presenting a modern-day Esther beauty pageant within a science-fiction future. Cass doesn’t overwhelm us with exposition right away but dishes it out over the course of the book and foreshadows a large conflict still to arise, probably in the sequel, probably involving secret alliances.
Cass raises questions in the reader that (hopefully) will be answered in the next book, and sets America, Aspen, and Prince Maxon, up for a sudden, yet inevitable betrayal, sometime in the sequel. In its favor, we have a genuinely stubborn, independent female who knows what she wants, is honest, and who refuses to sabotage the other contestants. America is a great subject in this fish-out-of-water experience and the reader will feel compassion for her thwarted love and danger that surrounds palace life.
To his credit, Prince Maxon is not a Disneyfied (is that a word?) prince. He may be tall and charming but unlike most Disney heroes, he actually has a range of emotions, gets more than a few sentences in, and we are really unsure at times whether or not he will send America home.
I tore through this 327-page YA novel in a matter of hours. It’s that good and comes highly recommended by me. If you prefer to wait for the whole series, the sequel, The Elite, is going to be released on April 23rd this year and is now available for pre-order at Amazon.com.
Have you read The Selection yet? What did you think? Grab a cuppa and let’s chat!