Confession. I haven’t gotten much sleep this week. And I can’t even blame it on being pregnant. Nope. It’s all author Kiera Cass’s fault because I just couldn’t put down her debut novel, The Selection.
So, they always tell you don’t judge a book by its cover, but, let’s face it, we do. Well, at least I do. This book jumped into my hands based on cover alone. I mean, let’s be serious, who doesn’t want that dress? If I had it I’d wear it every day. Like, even to cook dinner and sitting at my desk writing or to clean the bathroom.
Great part? The back cover description didn’t disappoint. Here’s what it says:
For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.
But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.
Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.
Dystopia threads are a dime a dozen these days but this one is refreshingly different. This one isn’t about a starving, poor teen who has lost at least one if not both of their parents. No, America Singer comes from a happy family and enjoys her life. Sure, she doesn’t live extravagantly and has even been hungry. The Singers never have enough, but America likes her life. There isn’t an evil leader killing of their own people, in fact, the royals seem downright nice.
I’m sick of love stories where the hero/heroine are both ready to drop everything in their life for each other in point seven seconds of meeting one another. The romance in The Selection felt genuine and had a hero worth falling for. America is a level headed, well-grounded teen. And we get to witness both her and Maxon healing realistically instead of not dealing with their issues or getting over their problems in ten seconds.
Speaking of Prince Maxon. Yes, please. I was pleasantly surprised to find that he’s not the typical cardboard-cut-out prince. Maxon is strong, smart, humble, kind, and beyond caring. It’s delightful to see a Young Adult book where a hero is treating the heroine respectfully in a loving relationship. He doesn’t try to control her (Twilight *cough*), nor is he a total push-over. He listens to her and he’s changed just as much as she is by their friendship.
The other male lead (love triangle, folks…welcome to YA fiction) is a very typical first-love, high schoolish-type boy. I honestly can’t see why anyone would root for Aspen but I’m sure his fangirls are out there. He shows a very immature version of love. It’s all physical and completely ego-driven. He doesn’t seem to care about the danger he places America in when they go against rules. And he places his feelings far above hers. We’re told there’s a spark between Aspen and America, but for the life of me, I never saw it while reading. Whereas every scene between America and Maxon sizzled with humor, trust, conversation, and wit.
If you’re looking for the next action packed dystopia adventure, this is not the book for you. But if you read Hunger Games and found yourself wishing there was more romance (like…if you wish the whole book was mostly Peeta and Katniss in the cave), pick up The Selection. This is a fun read. Don’t expect spellbinding writing or amazing dialogue. I’d put this book in the deliciously indulgent category. And know what? That’s the category I go back to for all the books I reread over and over again.
This book has already been picked up by the CW for a new show and I’m chomping at the bit to find out when the pilot will air. Many of the actors have already been cast. I’ve already pre-ordered The Elite (book two) to my Kindle and it doesn’t even come out until next April! The wait is killing me already…
If I find a YA book or romance book that is to die for, I’ll share the details. My author friends even stop by!