|Published: April 2012|
Age Group: Young Adult
Series: The Selection #1
Cover Thoughts: I WANT HER DRESS! Please and Thank you.
Cover Blurb Thoughts: The names are a bit odd... Clearly there's going to be drama in this dystopia book, lovely.
When I first saw this I instantly wanted to read it. It's like when you see something and you become so attracted to it that you can't help being drawn to it. That's what happened. I became so infatuated with this book and I put it on my next book purchasing list. That was in it first came out. Now something happened between the publisher, author and a book blogger that left me feeling unsure about reading this and so The Selection was put to the side and didn't resurface until almost a year later. Putting all drama aside (ironic cause the book is full of it) I really enjoyed this book.
The book has been referred to as the Hunger Games combined with the Bachelor. I don't see much of the Hunger Games reference. I think they were trying to reference dystopia and at the time the Hunger Games was probably one of the most famous YA dystopia lit out there and so somebody thought "Hey, dystopia. Hunger Games. Okay the Selection is like the Hunger Games." I mean they have a draw but it's optional and everybody who enters wishes and hopes to be drawn, completely opposite to the reaping in the Hunger Games. Honestly it didn't seem as dystopic as other books. And I understand that with this types of dystopia lit, the emphasis is not on the dystopian world but rather the romance. In fact when I read this, I didn't feel like I was reading dystopia lit. More like some historical fiction with class divisions, which is really what it is, just a more futuristic modern interpretation of it.
In my opinion, the most dystopia aspect of the book is the caste division. Each person is split into a caste based on occupation. Caste advancement is hard, not impossible but rarely done, especially if you're jumping more than one caste. It's practically unheard of to go down a caste. Which is the current situation with the main character and her secret lover. She's a Five, born into a family of artists, and he's a Six, born into a family of servants. Clearly marrying him is shunned but doesn't love prevail all? I don't know, I have to keep reading the series!
The story follows America Singer and her (arguable lucky) chance at becoming the next Queen. The only catch, she has to "battle" with 34 girls through a process known as "the Selection" where the last one standing wins the prize, being Queen and marrying the "dreamy" Prince Maxon. The problem is America doesn't want to marry the Prince but rather another hot and dreamy boy named Aspen who's of a lower caste than she is. There honestly isn't a real battle, more like cat fights and high school drama but that's what you get in The Selection. It's definitely Bachelor driven (at least they got that part right) and after reading this, I questioned my stance in not watching the Bachelor because I seriously really enjoyed this book.
I wasn't keen on the names. America? Not a fan of that name. Aspen? Not a fan of it either. I'll except Maxon, it doesn't bug me as much but that's just a personal opinion. I didn't hate the names enough to hate this book, although it's happened before.
America's life is very relatable, at least to me. She has boy problems, family issues, and then she's thrust into this life that she never really wanted but is a chance of a lifetime for her to become something more than she is. And then in the castle it seems they just do normal things. There really isn't any drastic changes that make it hard for me to put myself in her shoes, so to say. I like America's personality. You can tell she wants to do what's best for her family but she's not willing to give up what she wants. Especially later on in the story when her relationship with Maxon develops more, you can tell she's definitely conflicted between her growing love for him and her past love with Aspen. I'm applaud her for that, although sometimes I'm so frustrated at her indecisions, I still think she's strong enough to not succumb to the norm and pressure and is willing to go through all of the stress in picking the one person she really loves. And it's very nice to watch them both try to woo her.
On to the boys:
Maxon first. In some ways he's in the same situation as America. Throughout the book he frequently mentions that he has no choice but to go through the Selection and wishes that he can marry for love and hopefully come to love one of the 35 girls. I think that's why he finds such a connection to America.
And then there's Aspen. America's secret lover.
[SPOILER ALERT] After breaking up with her Aspen does end up being drafted and because of that is now a Two instead of a Six. Now what's interesting about this is the only reason he broke up with her is because of their caste difference: at the time she was a Five and he a Six. Now America's guaranteed to be a Three and look at that, her past lover's a Two so they can live happily ever after. I think this definitely plays a new element into this love corner (love triangle is so inaccurate as I've been told). America can choose whichever guy she wants since they're both from acceptable castes. [END SPOILER]
Maxon's seems to be the more conventional type, someone who will hold back if need be, and he does. Aspen is definitely the person who is bold in his actions and will fight for what he wants, which he also does.
This is probably one of my most favourite love corner, drama series. I loved every part of the book and I would definitely suggest it. This isn't everyone's "cup of tea" shall we say so there might be some people who find this horribly written and the drama very cliche but I loved it.
4.5 - 5 cups of tea
PS: The sequel to this, The Elite, will be released April 23, 2013. Who's excited???
PPS: In case anyone was interested in who am I rooting for in this series...
Aspen had his chance. It's Maxon's turn now.