Books 66, 67, 68/50
The Selection, a series that was recommended to me by my fellow bookworm friend Jane (whom you may remember from my INSPIRE! post), takes place in the future United States and is a dystopian Young Adult romance by author Kiera Cass. There are three novels in the series so far; The Selection, The Elite and The One. Of course, like most young adult romances, these stories have a compelling love triangle. Yet, the interesting thing about this triangle is that there isn’t the usual clear choice; both men are worthy of protagonist America Singer’s affection.
The Selection (first person narrative) follows America Singer, a lower middle class teenager who excels at singing and playing musical instruments. It’s post World War IV, and the world is much different. The United States is now run by a monarchy and society is broken into castes. The lower your number, the more you have. For example, the castes are numbered One to Ten and Ones are known as the richest and there are very few of them, while America’s family are Fives. America is in love with an eighteen year old named Aspen, who is a Six and it’s considered forbidden love since women ever marry beneath them.
The Royal Family has an only son, Prince Maxon, who is seventeen years old. Now that he’s old enough, it’s tradition for The Selection to take place, so he can pick his wife. It’s essentially The Bachelor for the royals. Thirty-five girls are selected from around the US for their chance to compete to win the princes affection and ultimately marry him. It’s every girls dream…except for America’s, that is. She doesn’t want to marry the prince; to her he seems stuck-up and stuffy. Plus, she is already in love with Aspen and doesn’t want anyone else. But, since there is a monetary benefit for those families of the Selected, America puts her name in the hat. Only, she never thought she would be chosen.
The three books follow America as she gets to know Maxon, questions the Royals way of running the country, gets to know her fellow Selected, and gets used to living like a princess. It’s a beautiful love story that plucks at the reader’s heart strings. My only complaints? I wish there wasn’t as much back and forth with America. She questions herself a lot, and it can get pretty annoying. Also, and I am never one to say this as I always ‘choose love’, but I wish there was a little bit more of a focus on the political aspects of the story. I could have done less with America’s romantic flip flopping and wished for more of a focus on the rebels and the looming war; I found those elements interesting.
Cass has developed quite an empire with these tales. There are several novellas from other characters perspectives, and a fourth book, The Heir, that comes out in May. Also, because of my addiction to IMDB, I researched and found out there was a TV movie based on The Selection, starring Aimee Teegarden (of Friday Night Lights fame). It’s clear there is a demand for Selection stories.
For anyone who loves YA dystopian stories and romance, I definitely recommend these super-fast beach reads. You won’t be able to put them down!*
*Note: This is coming from someone who has never watched a season of The Bachelor.