Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Selection - Kiera Cass

Title: The Selection
Author: Kiera Cass
Publisher: HarperTeen, 2012 (Hardcover)
Length: 327 pages
Genre: Young Adult; Dystopian Fiction
Started: May 28, 2014
Finished: May 29, 2014

From the inside cover:

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 the 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 hadn't even heard of this trilogy till recently; it's quite popular so I decided to try it out. Whoo boy, I fell fast and hard for this book. I'm not a typical girly-girl, I've never been that into dresses and shoes and the like, and looking at the cover and the synopsis I assumed it would be very superficial like that; but thankfully for me America's not an uber girly-girl either.

America Singer is a Five, coming from a family of artists and only steps above being destitute like the Eights. In Illea, the land that was formed after a horrific war that destroyed the United States, a caste system prevails. Ones are royalty, Twos and Threes have a decent life, anyone below a Four has surely suffered hard times, some more than others. America loves Aspen, a Six, and the two have plans for marriage. When she is chosen for the Selection, America only agrees to it because her family will be compensated while she is at the palace, money they desperately need.

As she goes through the process, trying to make friends with the other chosen girls and her maids, America realizes the prince is more than she at first assumed. The two become friends and begin to fall in love. As Maxon confides in America, she learns of the rebel attacks and experiences them first-hand. As the girls dwindle down to the final few, America wonders why Illea's history has never been written down and who Prince Maxon will choose.

The book has more to it than one would assume. The hints at political intrigue are subtle enough to grab your attention and will assumedly be a bigger focus in the later books. The romance is incredibly well done, the interactions between Maxon and America are very natural and do a wonderful job of showing the developing romance versus telling. America herself is a very down to earth character, very admirable and determined and not allowing anyone to walk all over her, including Prince Maxon.

Very enticing and addicting read, I urge you to give it a go, even if you give the frilly cover the side-eye. I'm eagerly awaiting the arrival of my copies of books 2 and 3 (already released).

Thoughts on the cover:
I figured this was a stereotypical YA cover, but once I saw the covers for the other two books, I had to give them some credit. These are freaking gorgeous covers, they indulge the fraction of myself that is the girly-girl.

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