As an avid reader, hearing that one of my favorite series from when I was younger, Kiera Cass’ “The Selection” series, is currently in the process of being converted into a movie on Netflix, I did two things. First, I texted all my friends who love the books as much as I do and fangirled over the news. Second, I reread the series, ready to dive into what I remembered as an enchanting plot. Yet, keeping in mind I last read the series before starting high school, I realized the change in perception rereading a beloved book years later can have.
The first three books in “The Selection” series follows America Singer as she, along with 34 other girls, vie for the affection of Prince Maxon Schreave of Illéa in the competition-like Selection. However, America, tangled in an ever-evolving relationship with her ex-boyfriend from home Aspen Ledger, strikes up a friendship with Maxon rather than compete against the other girls. As the number of girls in the Selection dwindles, America must come face-to-face with her feelings while Maxon thwarts rebel attacks and learns just how imperfect their caste-based society truly is.
The final two books in the series highlight America’s daughter, Evie, as she deals with her own journey to find a husband in her own Selection. Not unlike her mom (no spoilers on who her dad is), Evie dives into the complicated and heart-wrenching experience that is navigating a competition when her heart is on the line.
When I first read the series, I fell under the enchantment of the setting and plot, based off a dystopian version of the United States (the main character’s name is America) filled with royalty and rebellion. As perfectly reviewed by “Publisher’s Weekly,” “The Selection’s” plot is “A cross between ‘The Hunger Games’ (minus the blood sport) and ‘The Bachelor’ (minus the blood sport).”
These enthralling elements continued to keep me hooked, but my perception of certain characters did change. America initially seemed like a relatable character who didn’t back down from her morals. While the second time I read it she seemed as such, America displayed brash qualities that occasionally detracted from the plot. Adding her childish traits with a too-accepting Maxon, America sometimes made me want to reach through the pages and talk some sense into her.
Yet despite America’s immature behavior, Kiera Cass creates a romance as heartwarming as it is heartbreaking. Although I usually despise love triangles, the one centered on America didn’t leave any party appearing catty or detestable because of it. Cass writes the series so that America ends up with the person right for her, developing America’s detrimentally stubborn personality into a determined, dependable one that meshes well with her partner.
While “The Selection” series appeals more to middle schoolers and underclassmen, Cass’ story and character development attracts readers of all ages. Next time you’re looking for a book to read, consider making the selection for “The Selection.”