19 April 2014

book review: the selection

the selection by kiera cass

jess recently recommended the book the selection and being a fan of other YA dystopian series like the hunger games and divergent, i was eager to give it a read.  i haven't felt much like reading lately and thought maybe an easy, engaging read would get me back into my favorite hobby.  and this book was just what i needed.  i finished it in a couple days and stayed up until 12:30am reading the second book!

this book revolves around the process to find a young price named maxon schraeve his wife.  teenage girls of a certain age all across the country were sent a letter to voluntarily participate in the selection process, and 35 girls were chosen and flown to the castle to duke it out for price maxon's love (yes, think the bachelor).

i could never really figure out what time period or country the book takes place in, but there is a rigid caste system with all members of the population falling into a caste of one through eight.  ones are royalty like prince maxon and eights are the lowest of the low - uneducated, unskilled workers who barely get by.  our heroine, america singer, is a five.  she and her family are artists who must perform or produce to make ends meet.  she helps to support her family by singing at holiday and birthday parties with her mom; her dad is a painter.

america is in love with a boy named aspen who is in a lower caste than her and they have been secretly dating for years.  marrying one another would be next to impossible and wouldn't guarantee any sort of future but that eager, first love is so hard to let go of.  when the opportunity to volunteer for the selection comes up, america is urged by both her secret boyfriend and her family to sign up... it's the promise of a potentially better life.  begrudgingly, she does so, and is transported into a world beyond that which she has ever experienced or imagined.  and she suddenly finds herself in a unique situation as she develops a pretty a-typical but oh-so-sweet friendship with price maxon.

i was pleasantly surprised with how much i enjoyed this book.  the writing flowed well and i feel i really got to know america, what is important to her, and what she hopes for herself in the future.  of course she's just a teenager, but anyone can relate to her experiences -- that's what's so great about this genre of novels.  there's romance, mystery, and moral questions that arise that america has to work her way though all while being in the public spotlight of a very tense and competitive fight for a prince's affection.

the elite is the second book in this series and the third book, the one, is released may 6th.  i won't post a review on either as i don't want to spoil the first book for anyone, but i would like to leave the comments open for a freer conversation with potential spoiler alerts if anyone else has read this book and wants to discuss it with me -- so don't scroll down too far if you click through to comment!  thanks again to jess for the recommendation!

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