The following is a book review by The Ameri Brit Mom. This is book #6 from The Ameri Brit Mom 24 Book Challenge in 2016. This post expresses the genuine opinion and experiences of The Ameri Brit Mom and is in no way endorsed by authors, publishers, or outside influences.
Title: The Selection
Author: Kiera Cass
Publisher: Harper Teen
Copyright Date: 2012
Picture credit: Goodreads
For the past couple of years The Selection series has been really popular among the ninth grade girls in my English classes. I’ve watched this series turn reluctant female readers into confident ones as they devour the pages quickly and with excitement. Whenever someone prepares to present about this book there is always another student in the room who gasps, “I loved that book!” uncontrollably. As a result of all the love this book gets in my classroom this title has been on my TBR (To-Be-Read) list for a while so I was excited to get it out of the queue.
America Singer lives with her family in the country of Illea. She is from one of the lowest castes in the nation where she is being trained to work as a musician. Over the past several years she has fallen in love with Aspen, a boy of an even lower caste, but they have found ways to kindle their star crossed love without suspicion.
Things are going well for the love birds until news comes out that Prince Maxon will be hosting a selection at the royal palace to seek out a wife. The promise of wealth and power for the family of the chosen wife as well as her mother’s own urging cause America to put her name in the running to represent her province in The Selection. When she is chosen to embark on the adventure to the crown America is torn apart, but she puts her family before her own desires. Soon after her arrival to the palace it becomes clear that she is a front runner for Prince Maxon’s affection and she pays the price of his feelings with her relationships with the other girls in the contest, her forbidden love for Aspen, and the dangerous rebel attacks on the palace during her stay.
The Selection was a mash up between a couple of popular stories. When trying to explain the plot to my husband I drew multiple comparisons to well known tales/shows such as The Bachelor, The Hunger Games, and the story of Queen Esther from the Bible.
Some parallels which can be drawn between The Selection and The Bachelor would be that the Prince of Illea has come of age and is need of a bride. Instead of going about the dating process the traditional way Prince Maxon undergoes a live televised program where he will court thirty-five women (one from each of the provinces.) The process will eventually lead to the selection of a wife.
The Hunger Games
The Selection is similar to The Hunger Games in that it is set in futuristic America. China has defeated our country before being invaded and overtaken by the troops of Lord Illea, the namesake of the newly formed nation. There is also a strict caste system in place across the country. And along the lines of the districts in Panem from The Hunger Games, each of the provinces of Illea will have a woman chosen at random to represent their province in the Selection. Much like Katniss Everdeen, America Singer is reluctant to be called upon to represent her home on the televised competition, but discovers that she is a natural and finds herself successful.
The last comparison I made between the book and a famous story is that of Queen Esther. The process for determining a wife for the eligible Prince Maxon is reflective of the process that Esther took part in to win the heart of King Xerxes. The women are all brought to the palace and treated royally. Each woman is at the beck and call of the young prince and spends her days waiting for the privilege to spend one-on-one time with the heir to the country’s throne. Also, like Queen Esther, America Singer shows that she is not romanced by the wealth and power of the prince and oftentimes breaks the rules of the game by asserting her will without fear of consequence.
This was a very quick read. The author drew me into the plot from page one and didn’t let up until the abrupt ending. This is the first book in a series and so the ending was not clean and tidy. Most of the loose ends were left dangling. The rest of the series includes: The Elite, The One, The Heir, and The Crown (to be relased in May.) It’s clear to me why young adult readers have been flocking to this series. And now that I’m attached to America, Prince Maxon, Lady Marlee, and Aspen I’m looking forward to continuing the series!
The Ameri Brit Mom