Publication Date: April 24th, 2012
For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in the palace and compete for the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon.
But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.
Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself- and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.
(Courtesy of Goodreads)
As you may or may not know, there has been some drama surrounding this book and a certain Goodreads reviewer, twitter, and the author. I know a lot of bloggers and reviewers decided not to read this book because of the whole thing, but as they say in media, "There's no such thing as bad publicity!". The drama made me want to read this even more. I HAD to know whether or not I agreed with the negative review that sparked it. Well, the verdict is in, and I have to say that I really liked this book. I felt like it kind of loosely borrowed ideas from other well-known YA books, but really, what author hasn't done that to some degree? I will admit that after reading the first four or five chapters, I was thinking I might not like this one. I thought the characters were a little one-dimensional, and I thought the caste system was a bit cliche, but as the story progressed, it grew on me. The story was pretty well paced, and I didn't feel it really dragged at any time. I found merit in nearly every character (except Celeste- she's Satan in stilettos) and I actually grew to really like America, Maxon, and America's maids. In the end, I thought this book to be a solid start to what will prove to be an action-packed series. I can't wait to find out what the rebels have in store for Illea and what they are really looking for. I also can't wait to see who America chooses (duh!). I predict that this book will be a huge hit and that very soon after its release we will begin to see lots of "Team Maxon" and "Team Aspen" action (for the record, I'm firmly "Team Maxon"). The only gripe I have about this book is where it left off. It was pretty anti-climactic, and while I get pissed off in the moment with huge cliffhangers, I much prefer them to how this one ended. If the ending had been better, I would have given this book 4.5 stars...
My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Grade Level Recommendation: This book is squeaky clean. No language, no violence, no sex. The romance is very innocent and consists on no more than hand holding and innocent kissing. This book is fine for 4th grade+ (ages 9 and up).