Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books.
Release date: June 7th 2012.
Paperback, 327 pages.
Rating: 3½ out of 5.
Source: Received from publisher for review.
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.
In a world where society is divided by numbers, America Singer is a five. It’s nothing that marks her out as special, but nothing so bad either that she has to work as a servant, always going hungry, never having enough, like her secret boyfriend Aspen, who is a six. America’s mother wants great things for her pretty daughter. She wants her to move up the world. She’d like America to marry a four, maybe even a three. And so, when an unbelievable opportunity presents itself in the form of The Selection, whereby pretty girls compete for the heart of Prince Maxon and the crown of Illéa, America’s mother is all for it. At first, America is not interested, but then when her relationship with Aspen takes an unexpected and heart-breaking turn, she sees The Selection as her escape from reality. After all, living it up in a palace for a couple weeks can’t be so bad, right?
Billed as The Bachelor meets The Hunger Games, The Selection has been heavily marketed as a work of dystopian fiction. However, if you’re expecting a hard-hitting read featuring a brutal regime and a caste system that has rules and regulations that are almost impossible to adhere to, then this isn’t the book for you. Essentially, The Selection is a dark fairytale, or dystopian-lite, if you like. There’s a lack of world building and background information here, which will annoy some readers, and the only thing that might disrupt the order of America's society, a rebellion that is supposedly rising, is talked about, but never actually seen. I have my own theories on that particular plot point, but it’s not something that really bothers America and the rest of the girls who have been chosen for The Selection. After all, they have their pretty dresses and their fine jewels to keep them occupied.
The Selection is a light, fluffy read that mostly deals with America’s new life at the palace and her growing attraction to Prince Maxon, who turns out to be not as dull as he might first seem. Okay, he is a little dull, at times but he’s a nice guy too, and he likes America right from the start. It’s not all plain sailing though, because, while Aspen may no longer be a part of her everyday life, he still occupies a special place in America’s heart. Soon, America will have to decide if she should give the Prince a chance, or if her heart truly belongs to the servant boy she loved so dearly once upon a time.
The Selection is perfect for those days when you are looking for a read that’s light and fun, and not too taxing. I enjoyed it enough that I’ll continue with the series, although I would like to find out much more about what’s going on outside the walls of the gilded world America now inhabits.