Published: April 24th, 2012 by HarperTeen
Length: 327 pages
Genre: YA, sci-fi, dystopian, romance
Source: Borrowed from library
The first book in the captivating, #1 New York Times bestselling Selection series! Discover a breathless fairy-tale romance with swoon-worthy characters, glittering gowns, fierce intrigue, and a dystopian world that will captivate readers who loved Veronica Roth’s Divergent, Ally Condie’s Matched, and Lauren Oliver’s Delirium.
For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape a rigid caste system, 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 competing for a crown she doesn’t want.
Then America meets Prince Maxon—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.
I went into this book with low expectations. I knew it had been a very popular series, but had seen so many bloggers say they didn’t like it because the writing was too simple, the MC was annoying, etc. So I wasn’t expecting much. But I have to say, I really enjoyed this. Maybe it’s because I went in with low expectations or maybe I would have loved it anyway. This isn’t a perfect book by any means, but if you’re looking for a quick and light read, this may be a great choice for you.
First of all, let me say I can 100% understand why some people don’t like America (and this book in general). She’s far from my favorite main character. She could be annoying and judgmental and while I get that to a certain extent it makes sense for her to be judging other girls – she is in a competition with other girls to win the love of her country’s prince – it got annoying. She’s often talking about how much makeup one girl wears or how shallow all these girls are for wanting to be with the prince. It got tiring. The thing that annoyed me more than anything though was her insistence that she was nothing special and wasn’t pretty, despite every other character insisting that she was one of the most beautiful girls they’d ever seen. This is fairly common with YA protagonists and is one of few cliches that I really hate.
But once I got past America sometimes being quite annoying, I really liked everything else. It wasn’t anything super original or anything, but it was really entertaining. I really liked getting to see America build a relationship with Prince Maxon. She starts off hating him and expecting him to be this really awful person, but he ends up being quite kind and willing to listen and try to understand her problems, concerns, etc. Once she sees that he’s not the type of person she was expecting, they start to get pretty close and I absolutely loved their friendship/relationship. I can’t wait to see where it goes in the next book.
I liked the dystopian elements too. I think it played more of a background role but it was still there throughout the book. In Illea, there are different castes. Each person is given a number (based on their family’s number) ranging from one to eight. People who are ones live incredibly privileged lives, never wanting for anything, while eights are homeless and starving. America and her family are fives and throughout the Selection, we get to see how her experiences as a five have shaped her life and personality in comparison to the rest of the girls, most of whom are higher numbers and thus have had more privileged lives. I liked how America didn’t shy away from letting the other girls know she was a five and does her best to use it to her advantage.
As I said before, I really liked this but can definitely understand why some other people don’t. If you don’t like love triangles, you will not like this book. There is a love triangle with America, her boyfriend Aspen, and Prince Maxon and it is present throughout the entire story. There are some stretches where Aspen takes a back seat and isn’t really part of the story, but for the most part, the love triangle plays a pretty big role. I’ve mentioned before that I really like love triangles which could explain why I liked this book so much. 🙂
All in all, this was an incredibly entertaining and fun book to read. I read this in just a couple of days which is pretty rare for me unless I’m deliberately trying to read fast (which I wasn’t), but I found myself getting lost in the pages and reading 50 pages without even realizing it. So, like I said, if you’re looking for a quick, fun, and fairly light-hearted read, this is a great choice. If you don’t like love triangles and/or can’t get past a main character who can be pretty annoying, this probably isn’t for you. I personally loved it and can’t wait to read The Elite.