Imagine China buys out United States and existing codes are completely revised, back to the time of casts and monarchy. Three hundred years after our era, Illea's whole nation is passionnate for The Selection, a competition between 35 girls aged 16 to 20 and coming from all over the country with the sole aim seducing the Prince Maxon, who is searching a fiancée through this contest which is broadcast on TV. Countless young women seized this unique opportunity to live in a luxurious palace and to enter the very exclusive and glittering world of the Kingdom's highest cast with one goal: to be the one to win the conveted crown.
America Singer, young musician belonging to the cast number Five - there are eight casts, the highest is the one of the Royal Family - is secretely and madly in love with Aspen, a Six, when her mother places pressure on her to submit herself as entry in The Selection process. To her surprise, her application is retained and she is compelled to leave her family and her boyfriend in order to integrate the palace, under the intransigent eyes of rivals and cameras. Hopefully, the Prince won't be as dull and boring as she had imagined...
I was quite reluctant before finally deciding to read The Selection: first of all because I was afraid of being disappointed by the "youth" label (you never know what to expect with young adult literature), it sometimes doesn't take much for the book to be too simple, too smarmy or naive to satisfy an audience that has turn the corner of its teenage years. On the other side, I really had the feeling I already knew how the book would end.
To my relief, it wasn't the case at all. From the very first pages, I got literally caught by the novel - what didn't happen since The Mortal Instruments...- and couldn't drop it off anymore. Kiera Cass manages with her first volume of The Selection to find the perfect crossover between children's and adults' literatures. And for once, there are no vampires or dark magic, only a dystopia which reminds us of our childhood fairy tales and of our dreams of being a princess and having beautiful dresses. The great Walt Disney fan that I am couldn't help finding some striking similarities with the ball organized in the cartoon Cinderella in honour of the Prince Henri, where he meets all the young ladies of his Kingdom - including Cinderella, after a whistle-stop under the magic wand of her fairy godmother.
The novel's pace is swiftly, no way to get lost in useless lenghts, the feather is light and concise, in order to make this volume quick to read without getting bored one second. Some unexpected rebounds pushed me to go on with the next chapter without looking up, absorbed by the story told by America, a quite stubborn protagonist I could easy identify with.
The many secondary characters are very important to give a certain size ot the novel: we never know where the danger is going to arise from, who's the next Selected leaving the crown's challenge... nor to whom the loving Maxon is going to give his heart.
No sooner bought than devoured: The Selection is without any doubt my early summer's crush. The saga is being adapted into a TV series, yet another reason to discover this futuristic universe before anyone else!