35 GIRLS. 1 CROWN.
THE COMPETITION OF A LIFETIME.
My best friend has been begging me to read The Selection series by Kiera Cass for quite some time. So, when I received a Barnes & Noble gift card for my birthday, I knew I had to buy them.
To condense the lengths of these posts, I’m going to divide the books in The Selection series up into an individual review for each. This one, of course, will be for the first book – called ironically, The Selection.
***WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD***
Within the very first page, the reader already gets a sense of the main character – America Singer – being very much different than the average girl.
“I didn’t want to be royalty. And I didn’t want to be a One. I didn’t even want to try.”
Being in caste five – there being eight castes in total, this is surprising considering the fact that she is only three castes away from being homeless. And America is not so far above as to not have experienced real, true hunger.
As the beginning of the story unfolds, the reader learns exactly what those three earlier statements meant. The Selection, a competition, recruits girls all across their country of Illéa. One girl from each province. And for once, the caste you are does not matter.
“If your eligible daughter, sister, or charge is interested in possibly becoming the bride of Prince Maxon and the adored princess of Illéa, please fill out the enclosed form and return it to your local Province Services Office.”
And America Singer’s mother is adamant that her daughter fill out the application to have a chance of being in it.
But America has a secret – one that no one knows about. She is in love with a Six – Aspen. In their society, this is very rare: why would anyone want to marry down a caste? And then be transferred into a much harder one? This doesn’t bother America though. And this is also why she does not want to enter The Selection.
Aspen and America both love each other – despite all of the stigmas against them. Yet, for some odd reason, Aspen asks America to enter, for him. And because America would never do anything to hurt him, she agrees. It helps, naturally, that her mother wasn’t aware of this and so used a bit of money bribery.
After the submission, America sneaks out at midnight – like every night – to meet Aspen. Meeting together is risky, especially since if they were ever discovered, they would be in major trouble with the government.
She’s excited and gets there early. America has been saving the money her mother has been giving her as part of the bribe, and she plans to give it to Aspen. As a Six, his financial situation is much more dire.
Yet, Aspen is upset. Not with her, but at the fact that he doesn’t feel, he is providing for her. He suddenly says that its over. He can’t put her through being cold, hungry, and tired all the time: what being a Six would entitle. America tries to reason with him, but he leaves – after kissing her one last time.
America is heartbroken, yet has to try and not completely loose it since that would give away their secret. She comes back into the house and sometime soon after, the announcements for the thirty-five girls picked comes on.
What are the chances that she would be the one chosen from her province, Carolina? Out of hundreds of other girls?
“Miss America Singer of Carolina, Five.”
She gets picked.
Humor, romance, and conflict fill the remaining pages of the book as America tries to navigate the waters of being in The Selection. Being her unconventional self, she informs Prince Maxon up straight that she was not here to fall in love with him.
“I need to be here. My family needs me to be here. Even if you could let me stay for a week, that would be a blessing for them.”
“You mean you need the money?”
Prince Maxon agrees to let her stay as long as he can. Because of her upfront honesty, America and the young royal become good friends…and as the story progresses, perhaps, something more.
~ Southern Dreamer
Note: This is a romantic series and as such there is kissing and physical contact. One or two scenes verges on being inappropriate but overall, it is clean.