The Selection (The Selection #1) by Kiera Cass
The best way to describe this book is The Bachelor with a prince in a dystopian future. If that doesn’t hook you, I don’t know what will.
America Singer is, of course, a lower-class girl who is selected to compete with 34 other young women from across the country to win the heart of the young Prince, who is seeking a bride.
The world is split into a caste system, with Ones at the top and Eights the homeless. A Five, America is part of the “artists” class, struggling to make a living but grateful that they’re not lower. Of course none of those at the top know of the struggles (are they that ignorant!?) and maybe meeting America and seeing her attitude will help the lower castes? There was also a weird comment about how there weren’t any history books, and mysterious rebels… which makes me think there’s definitely more to this story than the Royals are letting on.
The Selection employs many of the common YA tropes: naturally, America is “not like other girls”; she doesn’t think she’s that pretty when in fact she’s stunning; she is not gaga over the Prince but sees him more of a friend and isn’t afraid to call him out on things; there’s a love triangle that is so obvious and tiresome and overdone that it’s annoying.
Despite that, it’s fun. If you go into knowing that it’s a fluffy, YA romance thinly-guised as a dystopian, then you’ll have a blast. America is funny and the Prince charming.
The writing wasn’t that wonderful, parts of it are predictable, but it’s fast paced (I read it in a day for BookTubeAThon).
If nothing else (and oh there is, because in a love triangle there’s always a Team you’re rooting for), the dystopian elements and world building are enough to keep me reading. I want to know if my slowly budding theories are correct, and dammit I want my happily ever after.
I will say, a forewarning: this book ends before The Selection process is over, so be ready to pick up The Elite as soon as you finish.
Basically, it comes down to this: it’s like reality TV; you know it’s bad for you and complete and utter fluff, yet it makes you giddy and you instantly get hooked. The Selection is The Bachelor in book form, and who can argue with a concept like that?