I was initially drawn to these books because of their beautiful covers. I only had the first book in this series on my list to read this year originally, though I fully intended to read all of them eventually. When I merged my “rainbow list” with the expanded 2017 Reading Challenge list, I decided to read the entire series as #17: A trilogy or series.
The story has an interesting premise, if a little overdone. My first impression as I started reading was this is The Hunger Games meets The Bachelor. My opinion was vindicated when I saw this on the back cover of book two (The Elite):
“A cross between The Hunger Games (minus the bloodsport) and The Bachelor (minus the bloodsport).” – Publishers Weekly
The Selection series is above all else, a romance story. It is the story of sixteen year old America Singer, one of thirty-five girls chosen to compete to become the wife of Prince Maxon. America initially doesn’t want to join the Selection and doesn’t expect to even like the prince.
America’s reluctance to join the Selection – despite the benefits to her family, and pressure from her mother – stem from her secret romance with a boy who is a caste level below her. Everything in her society is opposed to her forming any permanent relationship with this boy despite their love for one another.
Besides the love triangle, there are elements of intrigue in the story. This is a culture deep in unrest, but how deeply this runs isn’t apparent at first. The first book barely touches on this part, focusing more on the elimination of girls from the Selection – dropping from thirty-five down to just eight by the end of book one.
We do learn in book one, about two groups of rebels that routinely attack the royal palace. Rebel activity really ramps up in book two, and by book three, things finally come to a head.
In the end, America has to decide who she is, and what she really wants before she can move in any relationship. Through some often painful growing up, she does ultimately make new friends in unlikely places.
I enjoyed reading this series. It is clearly a teen romance book, complete with the requisite teenage drama and poor decisions, but was a quick, fun read. I’m not convinced it needed to be a trilogy, however, as the story feels a little stretched in places.