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.
This book really is a mix of "The Hunger Games" and "The Bachelor" and I actually liked it. I know it's not for everyone but it appealed to me. I've read the Hunger Games and it was ok, I liked the first book the best and I've watched a few old episodes of the Bachelor so I guess I can see the appeal in this book. However, my interests in those have decreased over time. I'm not sure how long this series will continue but hopefully no more than 2 more books otherwise I think it would be ridiculous.
The heroine America gets selected to be part of the Selection which is like getting selected to be on the Bachelor. All the girls get selected to have a chance to marry the Prince. I liked America, she's smart and clever but her beauty may have been over-exaggerated. Everyone kept saying how beautiful she was. I get it, geez. >_<;; I liked Aspen for the most part, he's just a guy who wants best for the girl he likes but then does something stupid to ruin it and he regrets it. I wasn't really feeling attracted to Prince Maxon at first because of that but I actually liked him once we got to know him. He seemed like a normal guy but I really expected that he would be more like a pompous, spoiled, only-child, Prince that he was than a normal caring man. The other girls who were in high castes seemed to be spoiled but I guess it's because his mom was raised normally so that the Prince was raised more with care. Either that or he was severely sheltered, I mean seriously, he's never had a friend before? haha The author never really goes into the relationship with Maxon's parents to help clarify why he was caring instead of spoiled.
There are moments where I preferred Aspen over Maxon. I can understand why Aspen wanted to let America go to have a better life but he did it pretty badly. His pride and ego got the better of him and that is just sad. I couldn't really blame America for her choice but it was annoying when she wanted to be Maxon's friend but that didn't stay that way for long. I actually thought it was really clever of America to just be friends with Maxon and that she was truthful with him from the start. Very rarely I find that when a girl and a guy are friends, they just stay friends. More than likely the become more than friends which let me down as that was what happened in this book. I was hoping that Maxon and America would stay friends and really actually help Maxon choose his future wife out of the group of girls but that didn't last too long. I just really would like a girl and a guy to be friends with nothing more attached to their relationship.
It was frustrating to see Maxon to get angry at America for trying to help him and then he not take her seriously. Also equally annoying is that America expects him to trust and follow through with everything she says. For example, getting rid of Celeste. I don't blame him for saying that it's his choice whether or not he keeps a girl or not but he did ask for America's advice. He should just be a man and at least listen to what she's saying but don't get mad at her for telling him the truth. He doesn't have to get rid of her if he doesn't want to but should keep her advice in the back of her mind. Same thing with America, if she's giving advice, she shouldn't expect him to follow through on anything she tells him. It's his decision and she should respect that because it's his life and future wife.
I liked the characters, America was smart and I liked how she still loved Aspen but did not like that it wavered once she met Maxon. Prince Maxon was cute and innocent at the beginning but I foresee him becoming a jerk later with all the girls at his disposal but I hope it doesn't come to that. I liked that Aspen was willing to give America up so that she would be happy but he did it in the wrong way and I hope he tries to make up for it. Oh I also was able to predict that Aspen would get recruited and would somehow make it back to see America in the palace. I will be interested to see how that turns out in the future. I do like the maids and am glad that America makes friends with the other girls to see her grow.
Otherwise, besides my criticisms I really did enjoy the book. lol The author created smart characters for the most part except for the little squabbles here and there. I found myself identifying with a lot of the decisions America made but not all of them. She made those decisions not without a good reason. I do like how America stayed strong and leader-like when the rebels attacked. The author didn't give out too much information about the rebels or what they wanted. I figure that will be developed later in future books but I wish she gave more information in this book. I do like how the author cut out most of the girls within the first book, it went from 35 to 6. That works for me because I was already having trouble with all the girls and their names. lol The author did a good job getting a variety of girls in the story and all of them have their own intentions for wanting to marry the Prince.
Overall, I recommend this book if you like this type of story where the girl is smart and clever doing her best to make the best of the situation that she's stuck in. I'd say give it a try but if this book isn't for you, then it isn't for you. Also this book isn't very dystopian despite its setting and references to history only a few times which makes it seem irrelevant. I'd be interested in seeing how this plays out.
4 out of 5 rating for me.