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The Selection Hardcover – April 24, 2012
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“An engrossing tale reminiscent of Shannon Hale’s Princess Academy and Ally Condie’s Matched. Fairy-tale lovers will lose themselves in America’s alternate reality and wish that the next glamorous sequel were waiting for them.” (School Library Journal)
“Cass’s immensely readable debut novel is a less drastic Hunger Games, with elaborate fashion and trappings. The fast-paced action will have readers gasping for the upcoming sequel.” (Booklist)
“A cross between The Hunger Games (minus the bloodsport) and The Bachelor (minus the bloodsport), this trilogy launch is a lot of fun. Cass deftly builds the chemistry between America and Maxon, while stroking the embers of America’s first, forbidden love.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Reality T.V. meets dystopian fairy tale in Kiera Cass’s delightful debut. Charming, captivating, and filled with just the right amount of swoon!” (Kiersten White, New York Times bestselling author of Paranormalcy)
From the Back 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 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.
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Top customer reviews
I'm an adult who loves distopian books, but it's been a while since I read one that didn't feel far too juvenile. This book really felt like the character was a smart, capable person dealing with decisions most teenagers would not have to. But at the same time, it stayed relatable to teens and there were definitely moments she made mistakes or acted in ways that only an impulsive teen would. She was not infallible, and she wasn't a lovesick puppy who couldn't live without a man either.
There also weren't too many truly heartbreaking, depressing parts of this book. I like a nice upbeat read to distract me from reality sometimes, and this did the trick.
All in all, it's clear that this author is just an expert storyteller who could make any mundane story sparkle.
Once chosen, she is still determined not to marry the prince. She has a distorted vision of who he is. It isn't until he comes to her rescue when she is having a panic attack that she learns that the prince isn't at all who she thought he was. She still doesn't want to marry him, but she offers to be his friend. Friends are something neither of them have had before.
This was an interesting society where people are born into castes which dictate what sort of job is available to you. America's caste is composed of artists of various kinds. America is a singer and plays lots of instruments. Aspen, her first love, is one caste lower and is in service to anyone who will hire him. None of the lower castes, America's or Aspen's have enough to eat. That is one incentive for America to take part in the Selection, the meals at the palace are far beyond what she can get at home.
Life isn't idyllic at the palace. There is some rivalry between the girls who are competing for the prince though most of them do become friends. There is the requisite mean girl in the story who makes life harder for America than it would have to be. But the main problem is rebels who attack the palace. There are two factions - the North and the South. One faction seems to be searching for something in the palace and the other just seems bent on destruction.
This was a great beginning to a series and I am eager to read more books to find out what happens to America and which boy she chooses. I'm rooting for the prince.