The Selection by Kiera Cass

Thirty-five young women are Selected, one from each region of the country, to compete to win the hand of Prince Maxon. When America Singer is Selected she is anything but happy even for the opportunity to bring her family out of poverty, as her heart belongs to someone back home. But as she gets to know Prince Maxon, she forms a quick friendship with him. And that friendship slowly begins to develop into something more. Choosing between a forbidden love back home and a future she would have never dreamt of with a man who has grown to capture her heart may be an unbearable choice for America.

America is a strong, independent young woman with a good heart and a giving nature. America has loved Aspen for two years, so she feels torn when winning the Selection. Unfortunately, we don’t learn much about Aspen, and readers will quickly dislike Aspen and find it hard to sympathize with America’s feelings for him. Aspen sacrifices a lot for the sake of his family, but seems chauvinistic and too emotionally closed off for someone like America. When she meets Prince Maxon though, sparks fly. The chemistry between the two is fantastic. And the best part of their relationship is that it grows slowly and is much more realistic than other YA romances.

Cass has created a successful futuristic world where what is left of America is now a fairly new country relying on unsteady alliances and a unique caste system. Plagued by mysterious enemies from the north and south, with obviously different agendas, I’m curious to see the direction this takes in future installments. The Selection is the first in a new trilogy and is impossible to down. Blending futuristic dystopia, suspense, and romance, this surprising debut is irresistible. I think this should be the benchmark for a new subgenre – dystopian fairy tale. Both beautiful and heart-breaking, this well-paced story became a fast favorite. I highly recommend this to all who love YA dystopia and romance.

As of April 13, 2012, The Selection has been picked up by The CW for a TV pilot. Check out http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2265607/ for casting updates.