Publisher: Harper Collins, Harper Teen
How much did I love this book? I borrowed it from the library way back in May, and have since been quietly stalking author Kiera Cass on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. I loved it so much that as soon as I was done, I started reading it again. I love it so much that I was thinking about it the other day and realized I didn’t have my own copy of the book, so I forced my fiance, The Oven, to go and pick it up for me at the bookstore. Yes, I am that borderline obsessed.
Why did I love it? Basically, The Selection is like The Bachelor x The Hunger Games – thirty-five girls vying to be a princess, but in a dystopian setting and caste system. I don’t watch the Bachelor, but for some reason, that set-up totally appealed to me in book form. Call it an obsession with frocks (just LOOK at that cover), a childhood love of princesses, or just the idea of a dystopian Bachelor – for some reason, it just got me. But I wouldn’t have stayed hooked if it hadn’t been for the characters. Cass’ fully developed characters are a joy to read – even secondary characters get a strong treatment – there’s no one-note, or token character here. America, the protagonist, is such a strong female character – she’s smart, she’s tough, she’s sarcastic, and she sticks up for what she believes in – at the same time, she’s got a temper and she jumps to conclusions. None of the characters are perfect, and the imperfections that are shown are realistic and true. America’s two suitors are equally well-drawn, and the other girls in the Selection work nicely to balance America’s thoughts with what’s really happening.
And for those of you who like romance – the love story is FANTASTIC. That’s all I’m going to say about that.
Spoiler-y rest of review after the jump
My favorite part of the book, however, are the hints at something bigger and darker in the series – things like the history of Illia, the rebel attacks, the fact that the rebels seem to be looking for something. On the surface, The Selection seems to be a fluffy novel, but the hints at the bigger picture and the world beyond Illia were incredibly enticing. This could have been a fluffy, girly standalone, but Cass has clearly done her homework in world-building, and the result is something much more important that just a dystopian Bachelor. There is real danger awaiting the girls. The next books in the series will obviously go darker, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.