The Selection, by Kiera Cass, was our young adult book club pick for the month of September. I loved it! It was a delightful and engrossing read. A perfect blend of romance and suspense. I fully intend to seek out the sequels, The Elite and The One. I did note also that there are two other novellas associated with the series, telling stories from other viewpoints. I'm guessing I will eat them all up.
In The Selection, we meet the musical performer, America Singer (not crazy about the name, but it grew on me), who is a Five in the caste system of her society. She is in love with Aspen, a Six, and therefore cannot admit to this relationship for fear of her family's response. While she is perfectly happy to step down into the life of the servant caste group, Aspen encourages her to submit her name for the upcoming Selection, a sort of pageant intended to provide the Prince with a suitable bride from among the people. He knows there will be monetary gains for her family and that by entering he will not feel guilty for holding her back from such an opportunity. She, however, looks upon it as a pointless gesture, since she is sure she will not be selected to be one of the thirty-five contestants.
Before the selection decisions can even be announced, Aspen breaks up with America because he is concerned about the possibilities of the draft and is also feeling guilty for not being able to provide for her as well as he would like. Thus, when America's name is called, she willingly flees to get away from the heartache of being around Aspen when he has pushed her aside. Still, she cannot enter into the games with her whole heart because, of course, her heart is divided.
I fell in love with the main character. She is gutsy and brave, honest and loyal, beautiful and humble. Page by page fell away and I couldn't get enough of the story. It is just such a sweet, lighthearted story. Even though it is a common theme of a girl's wish to become a princess, it is told in a new and fresh way (for starters, America is the only one there who doesn't hope to win the competition). The writing was seamless and the characters vivid and true. The plot draws you in and makes you want to come back for book two to discover who the Prince chooses and even, who America decides to choose for herself. I simply really enjoyed this book. If you're looking for a deep read or something thought-provoking, this won't fit the bill, but for a simple, sweet romance, it hits the spot.