Author: Kiera Cass
Series: The Selection #1
Rating: 4 / 5 stars
On the surface, this novel is just another fluffy, romantic young adult novel. Indeed, it isn't much more than this below the surface either. I can't, for some reason, place my finger on just why I enjoy this novel as much as I do. Perhaps because every girl, young or old, since has dreams of being a princess. And princes always have their charm; Maxon is no exception to that rule. He is young and naive. He tries to do the right thing when the king doesn't listen to his views as much as he should. He is shy and has never really fallen in love, except perhaps with young America Singer, who is none the wiser.
Now, when we get to America Singer, my love starts to falter. For one thing, her name is ridiculous. Indeed, most of the names in this novel are absurd and laughable. She is a bit flaky and wishy washy, and seems to have little to no appreciation for the opportunities she is so lucky to have. Instead, she focuses all of her attention and energy on boys and love. First, she is all about Aspen (another crazy, stupid name). Then, she starts to perhaps have feelings for Maxon. And then it becomes very clear the series will be a love triangle between the two. While America has a few shining moments, such as her actions towards her help/maids and the way she treats the other girls selected, she is in no way a role model. She doesn't seem to have much self respect and independence; her life seems to resolve solely around the man of the hour, which is something I could never approve of.
I am not a fan of the Bachelor, or reality television in general, but for some reason that setting in this book sucked me in, which helps make up for the lack of development of the dystopian background setting. The dystopian going on in the background is a bit of a plot pusher, and is only mentioned here and dropped there and then picked back up just when you had forgotten it. Perhaps it becomes more of an actual plot piece further on down the series, but it's a bit of a jumble in this first novel in the series.
Cass certainly didn't blow me away in this debut, and I hardly doubt she will ever become a classic writer to embed herself in the genre, but it is a fun, light, quick, addictive read, more of a guilty pleasure than anything else.