In a not-so-distant future, the United States as we know it has ceased to exist. A new kingdom known as Illea has emerged in its place, and its citizens are split into 8 distinct castes, with Ones being the most elite and Eights the most undesirable. The only way for most people to get out of their particular caste is through marriage. This is why thousands of girls submit themselves to the “selection,” a process that chooses 35 girls from the provinces around the kingdom to compete for the hand of Prince Maxon and eventually become queen.
America Singer couldn’t be less interested in competing for the affections of Prince Maxon. She is happy enough as a Five and is intensely in love with the handsome Aspen, who is in a caste below her. After submitting to her mother’s pressure, America enters the competition and when she is chosen to participate, is sure that she won’t last longer than a week.
America soon realizes that despite the glittering gowns and jewels, delicious food and servants at her beck and call, living in castle is far from what she expected. The castle is plagued by mysterious attacks from rebels from the North and South, and Prince Maxon is far from the uptight, snobby and spoiled man America anticipated. He’s kind and caring and has been isolated and lonely for his entire life. Maxon and America begin a friendship that evolves into a romance, but when Aspen shows in the palace as a new member of the guard, it throws America into turmoil.
A very quick and enjoyable read, The Selection is a great book for those interested in both dystopian fiction and fairy tales. The book ends with a dramatic cliff-hanger and is the first in a three-part trilogy. I will be checking often for the release date of the next book in this exciting new series.
Review by Maddie, CLP-Squirrel Hill