Friday, April 13, 2012

The Selection by Kiera Cass

This was the book that I wanted to read more than anything this year. I have been requesting advanced copies from Netgalley and we occasionally still get hard copies at the bookstore. Still, the days and months moved on, but The Selection wasn't available from my sources. I thought that I might have to actually wait until the publication date and then purchase or borrow the book from the library or my work. You can imagine my ecstatic surprise at finding the book on what I had considered a secondary source for ebooks. There was quite a lot of squealing, as befits a book junkie and nerd of my stature.

The Selection is a book about an event called the Selection. Every time the Prince of Illea comes of age, they hold a contest for all young ladies between the ages of 16 and 20. A group of 35 is chosen and sent to the palace to get to know the Prince, then one is chosen as the future queen. Illea is strictly separated by a class system, Ones being at the top and Eights being the lowest, basically homeless. Being chosen for the Selection would give a girl the chance to change her status and her life. Unfortunately, it's not what our protagonist wants.

America is in love with her neighbor, Aspen. The main problem is that she's a Five, a musician, but he's a Six. She only enters the Selection because Aspen doesn't want her to have any regrets. To her surprise, she is chosen to move to the palace. Even more surprising, America finds herself actually liking Prince Maxon. She still loves Aspen, but she's also growing closer with Maxon. I really enjoyed the progression of their relationship, and Maxon was funny and amusingly dim around the ladies. To add a little action to what is otherwise a fluffy royal version of The Bachelor, the palace sometimes sustains attacks from groups of rebels who are constantly searching for some mysterious item. We don't find out much about them, but it adds some intrigue.

After all my anticipation, I was worried that The Selection wouldn't live up to my expectations. Fortunately, I loved reading this book. I loved the descriptions of the girls' dresses and the fancy food that they ate at the palace. It made it seem like a fairy tale. My one complaint is that it was too short and I'm going to have to wait even longer to read the sequel and find out who wins the Selection.

I received my miraculous copy of The Selection from Edelweiss, courtesy of HarperCollins. It will be published April 24th.

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