Cass, Kiera. The Selection. New York: Harper Teen, 2012. Print.
image from: http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1322103400l/10507293.jpg
This read was like Disney princess meets The Hunger Games. Much to my surprise, I enjoyed reading it. I thought it would be a "girly" read full of hokey romance and stereotypes. It wasn't. Ok, there were a few predictable moments, but overall, a good read. In fact, I plan to read the rest of the series, including the ebook only novellas.
The provided summary is this, "Sixteen-year-old America Singer is living in the caste-divided nation of Illéa, which formed after the war that destroyed the United States. America is chosen to compete in the Selection--a contest to see which girl can win the heart of Illéa's prince--but all she really wants is a chance for a future with her secret love, Aspen, who is a caste below her."
Yep, that is the summary, but what it doesn't tell is the war was with China because "the United States couldn't repay their massive debt" (Cass 209). WOW. Is this foreshadowing current events?
The summary also doesn't talk about the other girls hoping to win Prince Maxon's love (or just the crown) and how they treat one another. Reading these scenes truly captures how mean/snarky/fake some girls can be. I was proud of how America acted. She isn't interested in becoming a future queen, but she does want to help her family. By letting this drive her actions, her true character shines through, and she mostly stays true to herself. She also treats others kindly, regardless of caste/position.
The summary also doesn't explain how important the caste system is to this society. Even though America is not from the lowest class, she, "became aware of what I meant to everyone here, as if I represented something for all of them." She gains a "sense of purpose" and is "determined to do this well" (Cass 72).
One thing I really liked about the story is that America is not wimpy. She has ideas about her future, and she is a survivor. I really liked when America says, "No, I'm not choosing him or you. I'm choosing me" (Cass 325). YES! A strong female in a future world who will play the game, but only as it suits her. I'm already predicting what will happen in the next book. I hope America will choose the boy who has been most honest with her.