The Selection (The Selection, #1) by Kiera Cass

World War Three took the world by storm destroying everything in its path. What started it was with President Wallis (of the United States) who owed China a lot of money that the United States could not pay back. From then, China invaded the United States turning it into The American State of China. Where the American State of China tries to group to fight back against China, Russia decides to invade them, trying to expand its territory. Knowing that Russia wanted more than just the new United States, the entire North America team up to fight Russia, with the leader of the attack Gregory Illea standing in the front line. After the war the United States name was so damaged that the country was given the new name of Illea, after their great leader, who became King of the country, and thus lead its people into a new society, where you can be whatever you are assigned to be.

Illea, a young country who faces attacks from the rebels, kept itself in order by the citizen’s castes. The castes run from numbers one through eight, with those numbers determining what type of jobs you can have, how much money you earn and what type of house you live in. There are only a few ways you can change your caste, otherwise where you are born is what you are stuck with. The caste of one is for royalty only, thus the king, queen, prince and princesses are the only one’s in the whole Kingdome. Two’s are for soldiers, models and pop stars, where three’s are teachers and four’s are farmers or factory workers. Five’s are the arts from singing, painting, pottery making, anything with the arts makes you a five. Six’s are servants, anywhere from palace maid, to washing dishes of a two. The last caste is an eight, not much is said about them only that it is bad, real bad, down there. The way to escape your caste is by marriage, as the girl is whatever caste her husband is. With no birth control many marry young and have tons of children, and for the most part all is happy. It works out well as a girl marrying up, truing from a five to a four, or a four to a three, it elevates themselves but not the rest of the family. For males only a way to move up would be the draft. Twice a year all eighteen-year-old males would be entered into the draft for the army, a sentence they only have to serve for 3-5 years, and move them up to a caste two. Because of this draft most wait for marriage, as they do not want to leave their new wife a widow is something happens to them out there, as the draft itself is a blessing and a curse all in one. The last method for the ladies is something that does not happen often. The ritual of The Selection, where the current prince picks out his wife from a daughter of IIllea (a girl of the country) booster her caste to a one, making her the queen. That’s how King Clackson met his wife Amberly, who was just a four working at a factory or a farm, until out of thirty five beautiful ladies Clackson picked her to be his wife. With that society setting in place, it is no wonder why some people would want to stay in their caste, and others want desperately to leave.

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America Singer was a five, and was quite content at being one. The third child of five, America was named after the fact of how much she kicked in her mother’s stomach that they thought she was the United States fighting against China. Her talents include her beautiful singing voice, as well as being able to play many instruments. Where her family struggled with poverty, they always kept food over power and never said no to a job. Her mother pushed America to be better, she was a real caste climber, wanting her daughter to move up. Yet America was already in love, for the past two years she’s secretly been dating Aspen Leger, who was a six, a whole caste beneath her. This was unheard of, someone dating a caste below them. For them to get married there would be many paperwork and lawyer fees, not to mention town gossip to turn America from a five to a six. Still she did not care, she loved Aspen will all her heart and more, knowing no matter what hardships faced their way they can get through it together. When the Selection came up for Prince Maxon looking for a wife amongst the daughter of Illea, America’s mother would stop at nothing to make America take part. Which she was not going to do, until Aspen told her too, telling her that he does not want to ruin her chance of royalty, because of him. Force in it, America enters her name into the draw, hoping to not get picked so that she can marry Apsen, and live happily ever after.

Kiera Cass told this tale of pretty girls in pretty dress, and the darkness of the society that they live in. Cass wrote about the horrors of this society by the voice of sweet America, in a story she kept fast pace, and extremely addicting. The process of The Selection, a contest for Prince Maxon’s heart, reminds you of the Bachelor, but not in the drama televisions series way. Maxon was truly looking for love among the country’s thirty-five top beauties. “I wasn’t alone until Prince Maxon spoke. ‘Are you alright, my dear?’ he asked me. ‘I am not your dear.’ I looked up to glare at him. There would be no mistaking the disgust in my tone or eyes”.America herself was a witty character who although was called Lady America, was not a lady at all. First meeting, she put Maxon in place, never lying to him about who she was. “One can never help being born into perfection”. She was a flawed character, at time heartless and selfish, she was struggling throughout this entire novel. But Cass wrote America as a girl, dealing with her first heartbreak, something every girl eventually has to face, a new place and competing for something she never even wanted. The Selection is a novel about America struggling with her feelings for Aspen, Maxon, her family and herself, as she deals with figuring out her future, imaging one she could of have, compared to the one she never dreamed of happening.

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