Author: Kiera Cass| Website
Publication Date: April 24th, 2012
Publisher: Harper Teen
My Interest: Cover Love
Age Group | Genre: YA | Dystopia, Fantasy, Romance
Series: Yes, 1st in the series
The Selection has been on my to-be-read list well before it came out this past spring. I saw the cover and thought it was beautiful, but then I read the synopsis, and I was hooked. It fits perfectly into my dystopian reading kick this year–just go into this novel thinking the reality show “The Bachelor” but dystopian style and no rose ceremonies.
America Singer lives in a world of castes. Society is labeled according to occupation, and the better occupation you have, the higher you are labeled and the wealth that comes with it is yours. It’s too bad she’s fallen in love with someone below her. That is, until The Selection happens. Every so often when a One bears a new Prince, thirty-five girls of the kingdom are selected for the opportunity of a lifetime–the chance to compete for the Prince’s love, become a One, and never have to worry about their family starving. For America, the Selection is a chance to appease her mother and perhaps win the affections of her lover. That is until Prince Maxon shows he is more than what America thought and the crown she refuses to compete for might just hold a love she never imagined.
Initially, I thought The Selection would be one of those reads where I could simply enjoy the read and get lost in the crazy, imagined world. Instead, I found myself thinking about society which is what the dystopian genre has been doing to me all year. In this instance, I say The Selection is dystopian because it’s set in a somewhat post-apocalyptic world. There is mention of a 4th World War, and we find out the area it is set in was once supposedly America. The world is now divided into kingdoms, and the current setting is divided into castes with one being the highest and eight being the lowest class
Firstly, I love Cass’s imagination. She took the idea of a silly, dating style reality TV show and ultimately turned it into a way of survival for America. I very much enjoyed this concept. I think “The Bachelor” is a ridiculous waste of TV space and brain cells; therefore, I appreciated the chance to look at it’s premise in a more literary sense and connect with our world. I mean, in all honesty, Cass’s idea is ridiculous… a competition to become Queen and dating as a way to make a little money and provide for your family (the girls who are selected are compensated for each week they are there and “date” the Prince…um, don’t we have a word for that….) but the ridiculousness is what makes it ingenious! What’s the point of “The Bachelor” anyway? A few minutes of fame and a paycheck? How many of them really find true love?
Nonetheless, the underlying theme of Cass’s novel about true love vs. forced love would be very interesting to bring up in a classroom, and I am already seeing myself sparking projects from it.
Besides a strong theme and ingenious plot line, Cass’s writing is read with ease. I finished this book fairly quickly, one because I was so absorbed in the story, but also because her writing is smooth. Her dialogue comes across as real, and her scenes are vivid. I had such a great imagination picture going on as I read this story, it was really hard to come to the end of the book. I think fans of dystopia would like this novel and since there are no sex scenes (just some kissing) I would not hesitate to pass this one off to a teen. (Unlike Wither.)
Which brings me to a few things. I was a little upset about the ending because I honestly thought this could have been one novel, not a series. But, I am curious to see where Cass goes with the novel. Without giving away a spoiler, I’ll just tell you I was angry with the ending. I knew which boy I liked from the get go, and how I wanted it to turn out. I’ll see if my imagination and hope is anything like the author’s.
There have been a lot of negative reviews surrounding this novel, and I understand how some like it and some don’t. I’m that way about books, even popular ones. Sometimes, books just don’t’t fit well with me and other times I love them. But that’s the joy of books! We get to discover what we love and what we hate. Either way, I recommend this for a read… if not for some deep thinking about our society, at least it’s an interesting concept to get lost in.
[for ratings system, please check out my Bookshelf]