The Selection, Kiera Cass, 2012, Harper Teen, 336 pages.
This is one of the many books whose cover caught my eye from the get-go. I mean, how much more gorgeous can you get? Pretty, young redhead. Beautiful, porcelain skin. Dress fit for a princess. In fact, that’s exactly what America Singer’s bucking for in The Selection by Kiera Cass. Her slightly lower than lower-middle-class family’s hoping she’ll be the next princess of Illéa and, ultimately, the next queen. She’s one of thirty-five girls entered into the Selection, a contest to find Prince Maxon of Illéa a right proper wife.
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.
This book surprised the heck out of me. One, the writing is simple. Not bad, mind. Just…simple. No big words, no spectacular sentence structure. Heck, even the dialogue gets corny at times. And, like me, bless her whole heart, Miss Cass has an affinity for the word “simply.” Two, I could not put it down. The story sucks you in like nobody’s business. Maybe I’m just a sucker for a love triangle, I don’t know, but Aspen and Maxon are both star-worthy heroes. They keep America on her toes, and I love that, because we’re in America’s PoV the whole time, and what’s a heroine without a whole lotta conflict? And, boy, does she have conflict. From the tension with the other ladies of the Selection, to Aspen, to her just a smidge above destitute family, and, yes, Prince Maxon, America faces conflict after conflict in a deliciously lovely environment well-painted by the author.
What I loved most about this novel? It reminds me of what I used to write in high school—princes, princesses, castles, etc. It’s just that kind of fun, that kind of interesting. The Selection is the first of a trilogy and, unfortunately, leaves you with a to be continued… at the end. Good thing is that the second installment should be released before year’s end. Yay! AND—according to the author’s website, the book’s been picked up for a pilot by the CW. Aimee Teegarden (Julie from Friday Night Lights) landed the role of America and is joined by many names and faces we recognize from various tv shows and b-movies.
Overall, I enjoyed the story, the setting, and the characters, and so The Selection made my keeper shelf, as will the remainder of the series. I give it a B+.
Peace, Love, and Junior Mints,
About the author:
Kiera Cass is a graduate of Radford University and currently lives in Blacksburg, Virginia, with her family. Her fantasy novel The Siren was self-published in 2009. Kiera has kissed approximately fourteen boys in her life. None of them were princes. You can visit her website here. You can also order The Selection via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, and (my personal favorite) Book Depository.