The Selection Series Book 1 by Kiera Cass

WOW
WOW

Published by Harper Collins UK, Children’s, June 7 2012, £2.40 (Ebook).

Description: YA dystopia-modern fairytale-reality TV-romance

Steam?: none graphic but plenty of swoon.

Plot: It’s the chance of a lifetime and 17-year-old America Singer should feel lucky. She has been chosen for The Selection, a reality TV lottery in which the special few compete for gorgeous Prince Maxon’s love. Swept up in a world of elaborate gowns, glittering jewels and decadent feasts, America is living a new and glamorous life. And the prince takes a special interest in her, much to the outrage of the others.

Rivalry within The Selection is fierce and not all of the girls are prepared to play by the rules. But what they don’t know is that America has a secret – one which could throw the whole competition… and change her life forever.

Ok, Wow. Seriously, I am kicking myself. Where has this been in the past three years of my life? While we were all getting hyped from the Hunger Games Movies, this was being published. If you even had a vague interest in the HG then you would still love this. GET IT.

I got my copy of this via Netgalley in time to review the fourth book The Heir, out on 5 May. So I have a lot to catch up on; not that it would take me long as I finished the first book in a few hours.

The heroine, America, is very loveable. She is high-spirited, sensitive, smart and kind. Being named ‘America’ is a little disturbing. It confirms the ghosts of a lost world, but her admirable qualities are obviously patriotic. She is not afraid to speak her mind, be herself and finds beauty in her gift of music. And of course, whilst fighting for her family, she finds herself in a very irresistible love triangle: Aspen, the gorgeous boy she left behind and Maxon, the polite and adorable Prince.

This novel has a very interesting concept. It got me thinking about society, culture, people and myself. I know, deep. But that’s the mark of a good book; implanting thoughts that linger for hours. The author combines issues that we can relate to in contemporary society.

The idea of being selected by a Prince and rising from rags to riches has been done. Cinderella. I just watched the Disney live-action last week. So the story is popular and cherished. There are also successful (well non-serious) reality TV selections: The Bachelor and the ghastly I Want to Marry Harry. The programs exist because many find it entertaining and they bring together communities, as many reality shows do. So, an official version does not seem completely bizarre.

The novel also explores strict social hierarchies, abstinence and poverty as a result of the lack of birth control. These issues echo Regency England as well as modern day problems in third world countries. The regeneration and instability of a post-war era is revisited. This is not the post-apocalyptic grave-yard of HG, but a subtle and familiar landscape. Like the aftermath of WW2, countries have been re-formed and re-named. Like the characters, we don’t have complete access to our history and heritage.  So the novel feels like reality and alternative reality at the same time. If we swap some things around and we may be living in a dystopia… Or are we already?

Overall, the novel is well-written with great pacing from both action-scenes and tender moments. There are a host of interesting characters with their own backgrounds and secrets. The good deal of mystery keeps the reader going- who keeps attacking the palace? And who will America chose? Aspen, Maxon, her family or herself?

Get it, get it, get it.

Connect with the author: @kieracass

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