Title: The Selection (Book 1 in Illea)
Author: Keira Cass
Publisher: HarperTeen – HarperCollins
Release Date: April 24, 2012
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 have one major complaint about this book. And that is the fact that when my friend asked me to describe it for her, commenting that she had heard it was very reality-tvish, I had to say that she was partly right, and when describing it in my own words I replied that it was very Hunger Games-ish, except instead of fighting to the death, they fight for the hand of a prince. And the reason I’m complaining about this – because believe me, I loved the first two in the series – is because it was a little unoriginal.
However, I really liked America. I felt so bad for her in the beginning, and Aspen, in my opinion, got what he deserved. I’m on America’s side, and I really admire her decisions throughout. Those were two things that I think the author did really effectively: I got to love Aspen really quickly in the first few chapters, which only hurt when the whole Selection thing happened; and America’s strength of character didn’t diminish at all – if anything, she learned more about who she really was, her true personality and inner strength. I also loved how she wasn’t snotty and could see her own flaws, but I thought she might have been able to see a little more in herself, especially since everyone else, including the reader, could.
The cover is very pretty. The blue and white is gorgeous, and the model with the gown really does look like a princess. I liked the mirror effect and the white sparkles, though, the best. And with her red hair, she really does embody America as the main character, rather than how many other books simply choose a pretty model rather than a specific character to put on the front.
What I really want to know, though, is how to pronounce Maxon. Is it “Max-on” or is it like “Mason” just spelled differently? I really liked him. I liked his sense of duty and I think America was right when she said that he would be a good king. I also think that even though he is essentially a good person, his eyes needed to be opened on several counts, and that he needs to adjust to that fact, as shown by his anger towards America in that one scene. I also think that having the rebellion going on not only helped the plot, but also gave a deeper understanding of the characters to the reader and to themselves. Oh! And I almost forgot. I absolutely adored the three maids that took care of America! They were so caring and I loved their devotion to her, as well as their love for the prince and the other royals.
I’m also going to say that the whole Selection idea is completely barbaric and ludicrous! The idea that the prince was not only allowed but encouraged to … sample, for lack of a better word, all the girls – in more ways than one – and that to refuse the prince was considered treason??? It was insane. I just couldn’t believe it, especially when America and her mom were signing all those waivers in the beginning. It completely sucked, and would have ticked me off to no end. In fact, I probably would have been executed right then and there. The last thing I’m going to say is that despite the feelings that I have on the Selection itself, it was an amazing book, and a creative idea, if not completely original. I would highly recommend this book, and I can not wait to read the sequel, The Elite to see how everything turns out, both with the rebellion and the love triangle.
**Note: I recommend this book for ages 13 & up to do sensitive/sexual topics and sometimes crude/frank language.