I don't usually review young adult literature on this blog. It's not because it's not being read- from the time my kids were very little, we read a lot of the same books. It's been a rule in my house that dinner conversation should be things all of us are interested in- I don't play video games, my husband doesn't like glitter, but all of us love reading. So the opportunity to get a book at no charge and read it with my daughter was welcome. After I finished the first one, I got the Kindle versions of the next two books that night! Total binge read.
The Selection is the start of a series about a dystopian futuristic world where everyone is separated by caste, and those castes mark what your life will be like, where you will live and how much you can succeed. Except during the Selection, when the Heir to the Throne picks their future spouse.
It's over the top, lush and light but there is a thread of social commentary and speculation which opens the door for deeper conversations with your young adult. Part Cinderella, part reality show, part dystop, it's easy to read with enough twists, humor and dialogue to keep people interested. It's not as dark as a lot of dystop, but it's not fluff either. The romantic elements aren't Instalove or based in appearance.
I dislike book reviews that read like book reports and giveaway too much- so here are the parts that made me binge read the books:
The main character America- She's not someone who needs rescuing. Yes, she's from a lower caste, but she's fairly happy. She doesn't want to win, she wants to go back home but also wants to do well for the sake of her family.
The strong thread of friendship- America wants to make friends and it's the core of her relationships in the whole series. She's considerate and loyal even if she does make mistakes occasionally.
The descriptions of dresses and balls are wonderful.
There is a love triangle of course, but it's handled well as part of a larger story. The romance is built from friendship and time- not from an instant attraction or unhealthy behavior. This is kind of huge for me. I think that more romances should show that romances are built, not instant, and that love can be thoughtful and slow.
So I'm pretty excited that a 4th book is coming out called The Heir which follows up after America's story.
I did read this with my daughter. She enjoyed it too, she's always preferred very active, strong self-rescuing Princess types and she enjoys speculative fiction as much as I do.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.