Series: The Selection #1
Published by Harper Collins on April 24th 2012
Number of Pages: 352
Genres: Dystopian, Fantasy, Romance, Sci-Fi, Young Adult
Purchase: At Amazon
For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime.
The opportunity 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, and leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want.
Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually she begins to realize that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.
So there are a number of weird names in this book. I knew from reading the synopsis that the name of the main character would bug me. But the premise sounded like it might be a fun read, so I picked it up anyway. Some names are okay, or just twists on more normal names. But seriously… America Singer? Tiny? Tuesday? Aspen is borderline, I’ve read it before as a girls name but not a boy.
The palace is constantly under attack by two different rebel factions. And not one person seems to have any idea why they’re being attacked! They just huddle in secret rooms and let the rebels trash the place. Oh, unless you’re the servant class of course. Then you have to hide in different secret rooms, and have a higher chance of actually being hurt during the attacks.
The book has a caste system. The royal family are One’s, and the lowest of the low (homeless, jobless, etc.) are Eights. And you start hearing about the casts from the first pages. But nothing is really explained about how it happened or what it all means until about midway through the book. Tidbits are scattered around before then, but nothing substantial enough to be helpful.
At first, I thought the love between America and Aspen was sweet. But that quickly soured. And it annoyed the heck out of me when he re-appeared in the book and suddenly America was acting like nothing had ever gone wrong with them! She happily committed treason the first night they were together, and didn’t have many qualms about it until she was alone again. A little while later she seemed to come to her senses and distanced herself again, but I still wanted to smack her.
For all the things that bugged me, there were things I liked about the book. I liked America’s little sister May. We don’t get to read a lot about her, but she seemed like a cute kid. I liked the twist about America being the prince’s friend and helping him pick his bride from the other girls.
The interactions between America and Prince Maxon were funny. They teased each other when alone as well as in front of the other girls. Their friendship seemed a bit fast, but it also kind of worked.
I liked that even with all the flaws, the story was able to draw me in and make me keep reading until the last word. I’m curious about the 2nd book, and hopeful that it will be better than this one. I’m curious about Maxon’s mother. She is mentioned a lot, but we never really interact with her at all. She has no speaking role in this book, she’s more a piece of scenery.
If you want a fluff read where you can just sit and ignore faults, this book may work for you. If however you notice inconsistencies and tend to pick over your characters and plot, stay far away from this book.