Performed by: Amy Rubinate
Harper Teen, 2012
Genre: YA, Romance
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
America Singer is a Five, an artist and is in love with Aspen, who is a Six. They meet in secret and hope to one day be able to marry, but America knows her mother would never approve. When the King and Queen announce that The Selection will soon begin, America is pressured by her family and Aspen to enter. She does, hoping to get them off her back, but when she is picked as one of The Selected, America must leave her family, her life as a Five, and travel to the capital of Illea where she will compete against thirty five other girls from many different castes for the heart of Prince Maxon. Although she doesn't want to, America goes because she knows it will help her family financially, planning to keep herself there as long as possible without actually vying for the prince's affection. When she meets Prince Maxon, though, America realizes that maybe she will have to rethink her plans, but can she really compete against all these other girls, some of whom are Twos?
Illea is a country set up in a caste system, allowing people within a caste to only perform certain jobs, therefore keeping them stuck financially, except if they are able to marry up or, in rare cases, to buy their way up to the next level. It's a horrible system and we see that immediately through America's home life. Although she loves Aspen, who is a caste below her, she cannot let her family know this or they would stop her from seeing him. If she were to marry him, she would become his caste. The Selection is a process meant to appease the masses, allowing multiple girls from the lower castes to compete for the prince's love and ultimately the crown. It's ridiculous.
I'm not sure why I read this book, honestly. Many of my students have read it and a few friends and everyone loved it, but I kept cringing at the comparison to The Bachelor. I cannot stand that show (sorry if you're a fan). So why did I read it? Peer pressure. I opted to listen to it instead on my runs, thinking that might make it better. I'm not sure it did because I was not a fan of the performance itself. What I did enjoy was the buildup of whether or not America would stay and whether or not Maxon would let her. Although I am pretty sure how it's all going to end up, there is enough back and forth that I can't tell just HOW it will happen.
Some things I'm not a fan of: the love triangle. OH MY GOSH the love triangle. I am so annoyed by America's back and forth of Aspen to Maxon and back to Aspen, but not when Maxon is with her, then it's back to him again. Ugh. Plus, the whole thing where Maxon is dating multiple women at the same time, but America is forbidden to even be thinking about or communicating with someone else is so....annoying. It truly bothers me. And as I just finish reading the second book and am already on book three, I'm even more annoyed by all of this silliness. Because that's what it is. Silly.
Yet here I am, needing to find out what happens. Wanting to know how she ends up with Maxon, because at this point (knowing there are books out already about their future children and whatnot) it's obvious that will happen. So there is something to be said about the quality of the story because it is keeping me interested. I do wish they had gotten someone else to read this audiobook, though. I think I may have enjoyed it more than I did. I chose to read the second and third one instead of listening to them.
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