When I was younger, I used to go to the library and spend hours judging books by their covers. I kid you not. When I went to go visit my mom for the summer, one of the first stops I would always make with my sister and step-dad was to the library. Recently, when I was casually browsing the shelves of the library on my lunch break (stop judging me), I remembered how I used to do that. Nowadays, I get recommendations online and read books suggested to me by others rather than just going to the library and picking up a book that I never heard of.
My library has this neat app where you can borrow ebooks and audiobooks online or on your phone. One of the books I stumbled upon was The Selection. I had never heard of this book before I started reading it, come to find that it's a pretty big deal in the YA world. As soon as I saw the cover, I knew I had to read it. I mean, look at it:
The Selection brings you into a world where everyone is separated into different castes (8 total). Each caste has its own duties and specialties, and people within that caste can only perform those jobs. America Singer is a 5, and 5's are known for the arts - musicians, painters, singers, etc. There aren't many ways for you to deviate from the caste that you're born into, but America is more than willing to go down a caste level to be with the love of her life, Aspen, who is a 6.
Prince Maxon has become of age to search for a wife, and so the Selection begins. Thirty-five girls are chosen at random from all eight castes to compete for Prince Maxon's heart. For some, it's a dream come true; for America, it's a chance for her to earn some money for her family and eat a decent meal for once in her life.
With her expectations low and her judgements at an all time high, America is surprised when she begins to get swept away by the life behind the palace doors that she thought she understood, but really didn't. She starts to question the life that she originally set out for herself and starts dreaming of things that she never imagined.
I was immediately swept away by this book. I had zero expectations prior to reading it and didn't even know what the book would be about. It's the perfect combination of royalty, bravery, love, and The Bachelor; not that I'm a fan of The Bachelor, but it's the perfect way to describe it. Prince Maxon essentially invites all of these girls to his house palace as, not only potential brides, but also potential princesses. I adored Prince Maxon at times and loathed him at others. It's hard not to when 35 girls are vying after his attention, and some are clearly in it for the wrong reasons, including America. I felt like he was blind to some of their flaws, but of course, he is a silly teenage boys, and some of those girls are lethal and willing to do whatever takes to be the future queen.
I went in and out of liking America, but for the most part, she is a character to be admired. She isn't coy in any way, shape or form, and she's always willing to speak her mind. Most of her actions and words aren't thought out, but those were usually the times that I enjoyed her character most. With several brothers and sisters, you can tell that she's a caring person, and the bonds she formed with a few of the other girls in the castle made me so happy. She cared for those people like they were her own family, even those that were supposed to be considered beneath her. I also loved her interactions with Prince Maxon. While they do have quite a few hard times, some of the good times were shown with them being playful and sarcastic, and I was definitely team Maxon throughout the book (sorry, Aspen).
There is also so much more to the book than the prince finding love. Behind the scenes, the king and queen, with the help of Prince Maxon, are trying to settle differences with other countries and calm down the rebels. There's more action in this book than one would think, and a lot of that kept me at the edge of my seat.
I easily give this book a 5 out of 5. It was so great to pick up a book with no prior knowledge of what it was about. I also didn't check the Goodreads rating, so I could dive into the book completely blind. I loved this book enough to read the rest of the series, and I can't wait to share my thoughts on those too!
For more about The Selection and its author, Kiera Cass, visit her official website and follow her on Twitter.