book review

Book Review: The Selection by Kiera Cass

the selectionThe first of the Teen Reads Challenge titles takes me into the future.
It doesn’t say the year but the mention of World Wars that haven’t occurred and the name changes of the States leads me to believe that this new “world” of the The Selection
is indeed a future one.
The society is broken up into a caste system. Each number represents the level you are and the job you perform. The homeless are an eight where the royal family of this new country is a one.
Much like The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, the castes all perform duties that benefit the nation.
However, the differences being that there is opportunity to marry outside of your caste, hard and expensive however it may be, it is possible for the co-mingling of the castes. Fives are employed for their artistic talents in either music or some form of art. Fives are hired to sing at the higher castes’ parties. Pay rate for each caste is pre-determined.  The lower the rank you are, the smaller the wage you will receive.
Enter America Singer, a caste five, living with her artistic family. They make some money on the bigger holidays, however their bellies are normally grumbling for their lack of food.  It’s a harsh environment to live, although America gives us the impression she is happy.
America accompanies her mother to higher-rank families’ houses to play music or sing. The father is a painter as is her younger sister, May, and the youngest of the group, Gerad, would rather play soccer than work in the arts, but at the seven, he has some time to find his talent. America has an older brother and sister that are not living at home. Brief mentions here and there but more detail is given about the family at home.
America is home-schooled, her best friend is her sister and she is in love with a boy named Aspen.
Aspen is a  caste six. Being one caste below, they keep their romance a secret. They both are in love and they will fight to one day be together. There are many consequences of her marrying him, especially in a society such as this one.
One day the letter of selection shows up. Think of Cinderella meets The Bachelor. Every eligible lady of every level of caste is encouraged to fill out a questionnaire to be considered for the Prince’s hand in marriage.
heart writerOut of all the girls that apply, thirty-five are selected to stay at the palace, like some dating game. Parts are filmed and shown to the country as a means of entertainment.
America refuses to be a part of this spectacle much to the frustration of her mother. America has chosen her love. She has no interest in the prince or to leave her family.  But Aspen has doubts.
At the urging of her love Aspen, I’m not going to share the details but this guy is a bit of a jerk, and a deal struck with her mother America puts her name in and she hopes not to be picked.
I won’t spoil any more of the story but I enjoyed this read.
America is a great roll model for teen girls growing up. She is strong, family centered and has a strong sense of who she is. America is a simple girl without all the drama the other girls in the book tend to exude.
Why did I chose this as one of my picks?
It met all my criteria and this is not the usual type of teen book out right now.  It’s well-written and enjoyable. I couldn’t put it down.
The teen genre has waves of genre-specific books come out, and then once the new fad comes along, everyone jumps onto that one. First is was supernatural with witches, vampires and zombies oh my!
Next came the end of the world and then came “real” fiction. Books that shoulder topics of death, rape and teen dramas that make for more quality reads when teens are looking for book report material.
With this book I can see a start of the “historical” fiction wave. I know that I said it is set in the future, however caste systems, royal families, lessons in manners and the gowns the girls wear are very much inspired from times gone by.
I liked that this was a relaxing read. Reminded me of Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot. Which, and I know it’s off topic, but the newest book in the Princess Diaries will come out on June 2, 2015. It’s an adult instalment of the characters. I got my hands, after a lot of begging, on a copy so I will review that before it comes out. Off topic rant complete.
Back to The Selection. A definite yes to read and enjoy. I have already written the next novels of the series down because, like The Bachelor, I’m curious to know how this fairy tale romance ends.


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