The Selection by Keira Cass
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. (blurb from Goodreads)
Rating: PG-13, 3 stars
Trigger Warnings: violence, mention of sexual assault
I enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought I would. It’s lighthearted fluff, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be enjoyed...indeed, I found it to be a very pleasant read. Love triangles aren’t anything new at this point, but I liked the setup that Keira Cass chose here, because it allowed America’s relationship with Maxon to really develop unhindered.
I was also pleasantly surprised by non-romantic plot points. I enjoyed the commentary on classism. Basically, I like my dystopian fiction with a political leaning, and The Selection delivered on that front in ways that I honestly wasn’t expecting.
Given the commercial nature of dystopian fiction today, as well as the commercial nature of YA fiction with love-triangles, I wasn’t surprised by the plainness of the writing. The Selection isn’t a book you read for the poetic imagery or the skillful sentences. However, it is a book you read for an interesting plot and engaging characters.
The book started as a light-hearted Bachelorette meets Hunger Games, but you’d be mistaken to assume that there’s no action or that it’s all the girl-vs-girl competition variety. I loved America’s interest in the condition of her country, and how that developed into an understanding of the country’s problems, which was further exacerbated by events in the palace (ok, that’s a little vague, but I’m trying to avoid a spoiler warning here).
Towards the end of the novel, there is some violence, and a character is very obviously triggered. There are also veiled mentions of sexual assault.
I’m quite interested in seeing how Cass continues the series, particularly in the balance between the competition and the growing unrest in the country. Elite, the sequel, will make an excellent summer read, and I look forward to diving in.