While America Singer supposedly does not want to be part of the Selection, a fierce competition between 35 girls to be crowned princess and wife of gorgeous and breathtaking Prince Maxon of Illea, she knows her obvious looks and musical talents could save her family from continuous poverty.

A girl has to make her sacrifices, doesn’t she?

In the immense palace now housing the contestants and the royal family, maids are at their service every hour of the day, luxurious dresses are to be worn, and casual strolls through the garden with Prince Maxon is expected. But as time passes amidst the glorious presence of his Majesty, she begins to realize that her presumptions of Prince Maxon may have been way too harsh for reality. Not only that, but the two-year long love of poor boy Aspen back at home remains in the back of her mind through out this televised contest. Add a whirlwind of the country’s problems, dangerous raids causing everything to crumble slowly from within, and the stakes in America Singer’s life are higher than ever.

The problem I had with this new, futuristic novel that’s a first in a trilogy is that too many of the other characters (the other girls competing for the crown, the king, and queen) were one dimensional. I felt that while reading, I couldn’t feel the competition spirit in the air. I felt like these girls were just roaming around the castle, no real competitive things to prove whether they were princess material or if they were clear compatible matches with Prince Maxon. They had to wait around for someone to slip up and be unladylike, then Maxon would ask for them to pack their things and leave. Honestly, I didn’t see the severity. I felt, while reading, I was expecting girls to have broken rules more often, set up disastrous pranks, and have girls team up to drive out competition for the taking of the crown. If they really wanted it that bad.

I saw flashing elements of a good love story. I liked Aspen and America Singer together, but when Prince Maxon walked into the picture and they formed a likable alliance of friendship, I began to second-guess it all. There was strange, misguided, and unresolved dialogue that didn’t get anywhere.

Regardless, the conclusion of the book felt like I was still on page one. Nothing was solved, no cliffhangers, and no plot-twists, and definitely no gut-churning surprises or omg-worthy secrets coming to the light. I’ll still come skipping to the bookstore when the sequel comes out. It still kept me interested enough to discover whether she will make her decision on who to end up with, if the competition is worth it, and if the underground dangers of her country will keep her from her dreams. I recommend this to younger teenage girls looking for a sweetheart Prince to swoon over and a genuine, poverty-stricken boy to tug at your heart.

— Shelby

About the Book:
Title: The Selection
Author: Kiera Cass
Release Date: 04/2012