HarperCollins 2012 327 pgs
Sixteen-year-old America Singer has a problem. She is member of the fifth caste in love with a member of the sixth, which isn't permissible in her futuristic society. She and Aspen secretly meet, until Aspen breaks it off, seeing no future in the relationship. America reluctantly enters "The Selection", a contest much like "The Bachelor" where young women compete to marry the prince and future king of the nation. Much to her family's surprise and glee, America is chosen to compete, having to move to the castle with a group of other young hopefuls. America makes a friend early on, but some of the other contestants aren't very nice. America is pleasantly surprised by the approachability of the Prince. The two become friends after America confesses that she is not quite over her past love. Friendship is slowly turning into romance when a development threatens to ruin the new relationship: Aspen shows up as a palace guard and is assigned to watch over America. America's feelings are confused, all while watching her prince date other women and having rebels attack the castle. By the book's end the selection is narrowed to six hopefuls. Who will the Prince pick? Where does America's heart lie? Will the rebels succeed in overthrowing the government? Read the next two books in the trilogy to find out.
It was very strange reading The Selection on my Kindle while simultaneously reading Princess Academy on the beach. The two are so similar in theme that I kept getting them confused. The Princess Academy is for a younger audience and is more fairy tale driven, while The Selection is a teen dystopian romance, targeted to fans of The Hunger Games and Matched. Both books share the same premise of a simple girl rising up to marry the prince and eventually to become the queen. The Selection reads quickly and is hard to put down. Its not great literature, but is an enjoyable read with likable characters. I very rarely read on in a trilogy or series, but plan on reading Cass's next offering The Elite. A perfect summer book, it will appeal to girls almost exclusively. America is certainly no Katniss, but she stays true to her convictions, is relate-able, and is a good person. Its impossible not to root for her. The unfairness of America's world, the absurdity of reality TV, and the injustice of social classes are all addressed. There is no true glamour in this competition and America is more thrilled with the good food than the fancy dresses. I can't wait to crack into The Elite, but must wait for my turn on the library's reserve list, which is considerably long.