America Singer is in love. All she wants is to be able to marry the man of her dreams, Aspen. However, people are constrained by their castes and her love belongs to a caste below her. Then the unthinkable happens. America is chosen to participate in the Selection, in which 35 girls compete for a the love of Prince Maxon. As America participates in the Selection, she has to face questions about herself and decide if she still wants the future she always dreamed of or a future that was unimaginable before now.
Review: I started The Selection after hearing Keira Cass speak at the Round Rock Teen Book Festival. She was wonderful and had some awesome things to say about Maureen Johnson’s Coverflip. If you haven’t heard of that see this link.
I loved The Selection. At first glance, it is just a fluff book about girls fighting to be a princess. I definitely enjoyed it at that level at first. People could see it as a lighter, happier take on The Hunger Games. However, upon closer inspection, The Selection gives insight into social dynamics in groups of girls and comments on gender differences in today’s society. America is a dynamic character. At first she is has a one track mind set on marrying Aspen. However, as the book progresses and she takes part in the Selection, she comes into her own. She develops her own character and power without either man. She discovers that she can chose herself. On of my favorite quotes from the book is “No, I’m not choosing him or you. I’m choosing me.” I love that she is a strong female character. I also like that most of other girls in the Selection all have depth to their characters. Marly is not a one dimensional character. As some of the girls get sent home, the interactions between the girls becomes more varied and intricate. Besides the social interactions, the politics of the kingdom and the rebels (who are trying to take something, but no one know what) are interesting to read about and give the book additional depth. Unlike other dystopian novels out right now, the protagonist isn’t on the side of the rebels. She is firmly with her country. I have a hunch more secrets about how the country runs and it’s history will come to light in subsequent books, but for right now the politics took a back seat, which was a refreshing change.
Usually, I get really sick of love triangles. I blame the Twilight series for this. Eclipse was unbearable for me to read because I just wanted Bella to make a choice. However, with The Selection the love triangle didn’t bother me. This may have been because Aspen wasn’t physically present for most of the book. Either way, I felt that the love triangle was done well. What normally bugs me about love triangles is that invariably one of the characters is a static one. The reader gets to know Aspen and Maxon both well. I’m hesitant about reading The Elite because I think it has the potential to become messy, not fun love triangle.
Because I listened to The Selection as an audiobook, I want to say a few things about what it was like to listen to it. The narrator was good, but not quite as good as the one for Shadow and Bone or The Raven Boys. She changed her voices for the characters but every once in awhile they didn’t seem like smooth transitions. Her voices for Aspen and Maxon were not different enough for my taste. It was fine because, they rarely interacted in this book but when they did their voices weren’t exactly normal for them, which I found a bit distracting. Overall though, I thought the narration was good and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to it.