What I’m Reading Now: The Selection by Kiera Cass
What’s It About (Jacket Description): 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.
Do I Like It: So much!
Thoughts: Despite the fact that I’m not totally sold on the dystopian aspect of The Selection, I’m really enjoying reading it! It’s fast-paced, but not in a battles/action kind of way, just in an “everything is happening and it’s exciting” kind of way. I like America, and am finding her and Aspen’s relationship to be every bit as dramatic and swoon-worthy as anything I’ve ever read about before.
As a dystopia, I’m not sure I understand world of The Selection. I can’t figure out how a society would get to the place they’re at, or why. The caste system is a powerful storytelling tool, but I’m not sure it makes sense in the context of our current culture. And the vaguely sexist society doesn’t seem to follow from the kind of sexism I see in our society and culture today. Maybe I’ll find out more as I read and it will make more sense, maybe not. But fortunately, this doesn’t really make me like the book less – I just view the world more as a fantasy world than a dystopian one, and then it works fine for me and doesn’t distract me from the awesomeness of the story.
One thing I love about this story is America’s reaction to the selection and to getting in. She only agrees to do it because of pressure from her family, who want the best for her and need the money, and Aspen, who can’t stand the idea he’s holding her back. But once she is in, she does get swept up a little by the glamor of it. She tries, even when she really just wants to be sent home, so she can make her family proud and not embarrass herself. She is pulled between wanting the life she left behind and wanting the good parts – the food, the clothes, the friendships – of her new life at the palace. It makes her an interesting character to read about, and her reactions to everything that goes on seem real and relatable.
I’m almost exactly halfway through the book, and it’s reaching a point where I think things are about to pick up – there’s been a rebel attack, America and Prince Maxon are forming a friendship, and several girls have already been sent home. I’m excited to see where the story goes – and definitely hoping for more Aspen before the end of it!