Genre: YA/ Fantasy
Plot: Thirty-five beautiful girls. Thirty-five beautiful rivals…
It’s the chance of a lifetime, and 17-year-old America Singer should feel lucky. She has been chosen for The Selection, a reality TV lottery in which the special few compete for gorgeous Prince Maxon’s love.
Swept up in a world of elaborate gowns, glittering jewels and decadent feasts, America is living a new and glamorous life. And the Prince takes a special interest in her, much to the outrage of the others.
Rivalry within The Selection is fierce, and not all of the girls are prepared to play by the rules. But what they don’t know is that America has a secret – one which could throw the whole competition… and change her life forever.
My verdict: A strong start for Keira Cass I thoroughly enjoyed. It is very talented how she weaves dystopian and romance together. I loved that there were elements of George Orwell’s novel 1984 included particularly with the caste system and the totalitarian lifestyle which ultimately reflects our modern day’s society’s views on social class but written in a way that young adults can understand.
I loved that America is aversed to this fairytale opportunity at first but then realises as she settles in that his friendship with the prints could influence significant changes. I admired her for speaking her mind and critiquing the system and throughout.
America was very much the rebel who is doing this to help her family rather than elevate her status and gain power like the other girls. It’s refreshing to see some feminism injected into what would be marketed as a happily ever after novel and America should be dubbed in my eyes ‘The people’s princess’. She not only sees the girls as the competition but sees them as people from very different backgrounds and has a lot of sympathy for the lower castes. With regards to the upper castes, she sees the immense pressure placed on them by their family and on the other hand, can tell who is playing again and whose intentions are genuine.
This novel is full of twist and turns with dashes of glamour here and there
I particularly enjoyed the will they/won’t they element regarding the Prince and America and the love triangle she finds herself with her childhood sweetheart Aspen. I found it a brilliant cliffhanger to set up the premise of the second novel.
Combined with the romance, frequent rebel attacks and pressure to form an alliance adds significant tension and excitement for the rest of the series. As I was reading, I was reminded of reality television and my beloved soap operas with a little nod to Suzanne Collins The Hunger Games here and there but with ball gowns.
Might I add it’s nice to see the roles reversed in regards to Marriage? In this novel, the Prince has the pressure of finding a wife instead of the woman finding a husband.
It’s lovely to see such a strong female lead and showing how abashed men can be without the added pressure of an alliance. The Prince realises he has a duty to his country but doesn’t have a massive ego often seen in fairytales. It’s nice to see someone of an authority figure who doesn’t take himself too seriously and can see beyond a woman’s social background. I enjoyed seeing the Prince and America becoming romantically involved because we were able to see his true nature.
Before I summarise I would like to say something to the critics who say the plot is full of connotations of prostitution – that is not the case. In no way does the prince abuse his position of power and status with his suitors and the women themselves are invited to join and participate.
This novel is just a clever spin on the classic tales like Cinderella and beauty and the beast.
Overall, I found this to be a very immersive and an eye-opener to how small-minded people can be when it comes to social class and have those who have higher power and status need to be reminding of the real people struggle.