Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Review: The Selection

The Selection
Release Date: 7th June 2012
Pages: 327
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
Author: Kiera Cass
Source: Purchased at Waterstones
Purchase Book: Amazon UK | Amazon US

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.

I was recommended this book by the Sales Assistant at Waterstones Piccadilly Circus. As I love watching romantic reality shows like Ready for Love and The Bachelor, although I wish they weren't as staged. The thing that really intrigued me about it was the blurb - "In a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels, The Selection is the chance of a lifetime: to compete for gorgeous Prince Maxon's heart. But for American Singer it means turning her back on her secret love, and leaving home for a prize she doesn't want".
As you can see, its not exactly like the dating shows, but better! America already is in love, and is only entering for the sake of her family. Confused? Then read on.

The Selection follows the story of America Singer, who lives in a world of social castes. America herself is a five, at the lower end of the system. With the lower castes obviously not as well off as the higher, America's mother convinces her to enter the competition to win Prince Maxon's heart. It's simple, marry the Prince, be rich and save your family! The downside... well every single other girl want's the same thing. To give this story a bit of juice, America doesn't freely enter the competition with an open heart, she is secretly in love with Aspen, who belongs to a lower caste, which in this world, doesn't get approval from your parents. Assuming she wouldn't be chosen, she enters and gets the shock of a lifetime when she becomes one of the chosen 35. From here on out, there is drama! Think cat fights, sabotage, confusion and more!

In the middle of all the competing and romance is a bit of political drama with rebel attacks due to the caste system. At first, I thought this was a bit odd, but when you get into this book, you come to appreciate the small details outside the Palace walls. The royal life is not as black and white as you would think, and you really get to see multiple sides of the royal family. It is a bit of a back story, but the lower castes obviously don't like how things are run. This ultimately will continue and build up through the series.

When it comes to boy candy, there is enough to go around. With the choice of Aspen (America's secret boyfriend) and Prince Maxon, America has a choice to make. The guy that will save her family's fate or the one that has always been there for her. I found myself torn over and over again who I thought she should end up with. Both of them have qualities fit for America, drawing you into a love triangle that you can't get enough of. Prince Maxon may be the one making the choice, but with America having her own private show on the side, who will ultimately make the decision?

The only downside of the story for me is America's need to mess things up. I understand she is confused, but her constant need to lash out at people that didn't deserve it and to disobey rules just irritated me. Then again, it's this confusion that keeps you on your toes because you never know which way the story will go.
The story was so addictive, I ran to the store the next day to pick up the second book. I'm just disappointed that I can't read book three until next year.

This cover grabbed me instantly, the gorgeous dress and simplicity. You really don't need to see much else because you spend more time in the book.

Final Comments:
I loved this book and highly recommend it to any YA or dystopian fans. If you love your reality dating shows, well then this is perfect for you. Not only do you have a dozen girls vying for one man's attention, but you have a second on the side which spices it up!
And if you find yourself wanting to know more about Prince Maxon, there is a book from his perspective, going into more detail behind the scenes, titled The Prince.

Continuing my book loving spree, I'm giving it 5 acorns as it was one of the best books I have read!