REVIEW: 'The Selection' combines dystopia with romance
Published: Thursday, September 26, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, October 1, 2013 00:10
“The Selection” by Kiera Cass takes place in dystopian America, now named Illea. After World War III, the United States has gone back to the monarchy system, with a little bit of a twist. Society is divided into castes, and the people are separated into class system. Each of the castes and societal groups is set as a number — Eight being the lowest and One being the monarchy.
Some castes have different specialities, such as Sixes being maids and servants, Fives being singers and artists, Fours being teachers and Twos being celebrities and models. A One, of course, means this type of person is either the king, queen or a prince or princess.
When a prince comes of age, in order to choose his wife, the palace hosts the Selection, in which 35 eligible girls are chosen at random to come and participate in a competition similar to “The Bachelor” with much higher stakes. Not only does the winner get a husband, she also gets the crown.
The story follows a Five named America Singer as she progresses throughout the competition. Originally, America didn’t want to go because she was in love with someone else — someone her mother would never allow her to be with. Aspen Leger, America’s love, was a Six and a caste lower than America. Instead of telling others they were dating, America and Aspen broke Illea curfew nearly every night and spent time together in a treehouse.
One night, after America received the letter saying she was eligible to participate in the Selection, Aspen asked her to just enter because he didn’t want to feel like he was holding her back from a better life. A few days later, he broke up with her when she surprised him with a feast. He did this because he felt he should be taking care of her, not the other way around. America went home that night with a broken heart.
A few days later as the names of the contestants for the Selection are being announced, America is surprised to find out she is the contestant from her province. Seeing this as her chance to escape her life without Aspen, she goes to the competition and finds she is the only one of the 35 girls to meet Prince Maxon that night. While she wants to be there, she doesn’t want to win because she thinks she’s not good enough for the crown.
After a bit of a rough start, America and Maxon become friends. They get to know each other while he looks for the girl he wishes to make his wife. Much to America’s surprise, however, she discovers feelings for him she didn’t know she could have.
Cass does an amazing job of making you feel like you are right there with America the entire time. I was crying when Aspen broke up with America, and it had only been a chapter or two into the book. The emotions you experience are easily those of the characters, most likely magnified to the point where if you’re angry, you may want to throw the book across the room.