July 14, 2015

YA Reading Reco: The Selection Series

You know how there are books that you really enjoy reading despite the fact that they're not THE MOST AWESOME THING YOU'VE EVER READ?

They are the Easy Reads. The books you fly through and enjoy. You want to keep reading them, though they may not necessarily inspire you or challenge you or leave you in a state of awe. They're typically somewhat predictable, but in a good way. They are light and they leave you smiling. A lot of times they're referred to as Summer Reads or Beach Books. Perfect for reading while you lay on a chaise by the pool. Most good trashy romance novels fall into this category. And a lot of mystery/thriller/detective novels.

I am in no way knocking this type of book. I love them. I've read a lot of them. I like to sprinkle them heavily into my reading lists. But I mean to distinguish them from the books that change you in some way. The ones that do inspire and awe and challenge. Those are a different breed.

For today, we're talking Easy Reads. And in this case, we're talking Easy-YA-Dystopia-Romance.

Too many modifiers?

How about this...

Today, we're talking The Selection series by Kiera Cass.

This series includes The Selection, The Elite, The One...and, recently released, The Heir.

It's been described as "a cross between The Hunger Games (minus the bloodsport) and The Bachelor" or "reality TV meets dystopian fairytale." And those are pretty apt descriptions.

The story is set in a dystopian future in which the US democracy has fallen and from the wreckage the monarchy of Illea has risen, built on a caste system. All citizens are relegated to one of seven castes (the eighth caste being reserved only for the royal family). The caste you are born into determines your social standing, ability to earn money and type of work available to you. The only way to change castes is to marry into another caste, be drafted into the military or The Selection, or be relegated to a lower caste as punishment for a crime.

The monarchy throws a proverbial bone to the masses whenever a prince comes of age and is ready to marry. Then, "The Selection" is initiated and a pool of eligible young women from across the land (and across castes) is chosen and brought to the castle. It is from this pool of girls that the prince will choose his bride (ala The Bachelor). And so the series begins...

America Singer, our "she don't know she's beautiful" protagonist, sort of "accidentally" finds herself amongst the candidates and her world turned upside-down by The Selection. And we take the journey right along with her. From her small town home and work as a Five, to the behind-the-scenes world of the royal family.

It takes us three books to get from the beginning of the process to the end. And it's all fun. All three books deliver a similarly enjoyable experience. They are all easy, quick, engaging reads. And the first two will leave you wanting to know what happens next...even though you know full-well where the whole thing is going to end up. Doesn't matter. You'll still want to know how you'll get there.

Like I said, perfect for summer. So, pick up a copy, plop yourself in a lawn chair, and enjoy the brain candy while the kids play on the swing set.

You're welcome.

Until next time, happy reading!

P.S. In case you're wondering, the fourth book in the series The Heir, picks up America's story years later. I haven't read it yet...it just came out. But my niece, Katie, will be lending it to me on vacation next month. I fully expect it to deliver another easy, engaging read. :-)

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