Series: Yes, #1
UK Publisher: Harper Collins
UK Release date: June 7th 2012
Kindly given by the publisher for an honest review
America lives in a future where your place in society is judged on the number you are born into. As a struggling 5, America’s only way to become a 1 is to win the heart of Prince Maxon in the Selection, a televised competition against 34 other girls. But all America wants is to marry Aspen, despite his lowly status as a 6. When she is selected and taken away from her family and Aspen to live in the palace, America will have to fight fierce competition and come to terms with her she feels about both Aspen and Maxon.
The concept for The Selection is a little like TV's Big Brother crossed with the royal family. The future that Cass has built is simple but fascinating with castes dividing society into numerical rankings, those at the top (number 1’s) being rich, and those at the bottom (number 8’s) being poor and on the fringe of society. There is snobbery and prejudice based on the castes, and in the story it goes so far as to obstruct America and Aspen’s love because they are of different castes: America's mother is determined she will marry into a higher caste, so one can only imagine what she might think about the secret relationship between Aspen and America. This forbidden love was so romantic and heart breaking at the same time – Aspen’s concern that he would be holding America from a better life back tugged at my heartstrings and really pulled me into the story.
Although I couldn’t ever see our royal family hosting a competiion like this, especially one shown on TV, what I liked about the concept of competing for Prince Maxon’s heart was the subterfuge, the subtle (or not so subtle) way some girls tried to get one up on other girls, and the psychological warfare. I couldn’t help but wonder who was in it for the crown, the prince or the riches, who was genuine and who wasn’t.
America was very different from the other girls in the Selection - she didn't want to win Maxon's heart for one thing, she wasn't afraid to be honest with the Prince, and standout as herself. Despite the fact that her differences felt a little forced, I think she was a gutsy character able to shout, cry and express her emotions and even knee the prince in the groin!
I thought Prince Maxon was great - he was understanding, caring, funny and down to earth. I really hope we get to see more of him, particularly in more of a leader/princely role rather than just as the love interest.
Only to be picky, there were a few things that irked ever so slightly about the story. One being the girls giggling constantly including maids in the Palace, whom I’m sure would have learnt to be professional in front of members of royalty. The other is that the end seemed slightly rushed, with some incidents speeding past in a whirlwind and the story ending almost abruptly. It probably didn’t help that I was foolishly expecting it be a standalone, and was expecting certain things to happen. So be warned, you will be left with a major cliffhanger and a long wait to find out what happens next.
The Selection is a fun YA with dystopian undertones, where romance and heartbreak spill from the pages.