Young Adult Romance: The Selection

Annabelle is freelancing as a staff writer.

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Young Adult Romance: The Selection

The book The Selection takes readers on a journey through young love, sorrow, confusion, anger, friendship, jealousy, and a Bachelor-themed royal romance. This book is the first of the five series that came out on April 14th, 2012. Although it can be considered old it’s still remembered and recognized by many past fans. The Selection books were written by Kiera Cass who is a young adult writer best known for the series.

This book takes place in a country called Illea where there are castes that compartmentalize everyone into different lifestyles. There are eight castes, one being the highest and eight being the lowest. Caste Eight are the homeless, considered unwell, and runaways. The next caste is the Seven’s, they are manual laborers. Six’s are clerks, cooks, and housekeepers. Five’s are performers. Four’s are more comfortable with money and are business owners. Moving up the castes on the podium are the Three’s, they are doctors, professionals, and scientists. Two’s were celebrities, athletes, and pop stars. The first caste, the most wealthy and well comforted was caste One, they’re royalty or religious figures. The thing about the castes is that they are born into them and they can’t get out unless they pay the government. Not only is the society that this story takes place in dehumanizing, it has human rights objections and there are also strict laws that if broken will revolt into whipping, jail, or death. 

The protagonist of the story is named America Singer. She is seventeen, a sibling of five, adores her little sister May, and she grew up in the fifth caste in Carolina. America is fond of instruments such as the piano and violin, as a five this worked in her favor. A boy named Aspen who’s in the sixth caste is hard-working, selfless, caring to his family and America. Aspen goes through a lot of hardships that shape him into the person America is in love with. This young love America and Aspen share is strong because they both care for each other deeply which is the reason he makes her sign up for the selection for a chance at a better life. The selection is an event where 35 girls are randomly picked all across Illea for the prince to choose one of them as his wife, a chance to fall in love, live in the castle, escape their caste and possibly marry the prince. Normally this is a chance of a lifetime for any girl that would be chosen, but America Singer is not too fond of the idea of leaving Aspen to fight for a crown she doesn’t want. Half of the reason America does not want to sign up for the selection in the first place because she has hardly any taste for formal events, fancy things, and dresses. The other half is because she doesn’t want a chance at all to marry Prince Maxon. After all, she loves Aspen. America eventually signs up for the selection doubting that she will be one of the thirty-five girls chosen but is she wrong? Will she be one of the thirty-five to meet and have a shot to marry the prince? During the selection, the prince is to meet and date all thirty-five girls at the same time to see who he wants to marry. Will it be America he ends up choosing? The prince of Illeas name is Maxon; America sees him on television but just sees him as arrogant and sad. Is she wrong? Is Prince Maxon someone she can fall in love with?

Even though many people might think this book is cliche it’s actually the opposite. It is truly no ordinary princess and prince book trope, it has a plot that revolves around a social status that shows how wrong the society America lives in is. The characters face danger, loyalty, friendship, and obstacles they have to face that push them out of the comfort zone and eventually teach them that no matter who they are it shouldn’t determine their worth and personality. This book displays that no matter what rank, stereotype, or caste you are put in it should not indicate who you truly are. 

This book has taught me the lesson of knowing who you are and staying true to yourself. The book taught me this because no matter what the characters went through they always knew that they did not want to let their caste define them. The book The Selection is a great book to read to make you feel optimistic about yourself and the opportunities that come to you. Even if reading about princesses isn’t your thing I would still recommend this book because it does not show a selfish protagonist, it instead shows a girl who is caring, selfless, and big-hearted. I know a lot of people can relate to her. If you are interested in reading the book The Selection it is available in the school library and can be picked up by emailing Sharayah Warren.