Book report: Kiera Cass ‘De Selection’ (De Selection series 1)
The Selection is the first part of the young adult trilogy the Selection, with America Singer in the lead. The Selection trilogy was written by the American writer Kiera Cass. In 2012 she made her official debut with the first part of the Selection trilogy. The entire series has since been released and Kiera Cass has written two sequels, which take place twenty years later. In this part, America Singer, on the advice of her family and boyfriend Aspen, takes part in the Selection, a round of waste in which Prince Maxon looks for his future wife. Although America herself does not feel like getting to know Maxon better, she soon notices that he is not too bad and has to admit that she even has feelings for him. Torn apart by her feelings for Aspen and Maxon, she tries to make it through the Squad so she can compete in the Elite.
- Main characters
- Symbols and motifs
- Structure and perspective / way of telling
- Time and place
- Original title: The Selection
- Title: The selection
- Series: Selection trilogy (1)
- Authors: Kiera Cass
- First print: 2012
- First edition translated into Dutch: 2014
- Translation: Hanneke van Soest
- Number of pages: 272
- ISBN: 978 90 0033 835 1
In Illea, Prince Maxon Schreave comes of age, so the Selection is organized to find a bride among all the girls aged sixteen to twenty who live in Illea. The first selection is made by choosing one girl from each province, who will have the opportunity to meet the prince and live in the palace for a while.
America Singer is invited to participate in the Selection. America’s mother sees it as an opportunity to get out of financial trouble. Illea is a young country, in which everyone lives in a caste system. America’s family are Fives, the artists’ caste that is only three steps higher than the lowest caste, often confronting them with money shortages and lack of food. While her mother is enthusiastic, America does not like to take a chance to join the royal family.
America even refuses to participate in the Selection. She could never fall in love with Prince Maxon, as she has had a boyfriend, Aspen, for two years. Because Aspen is from a different caste, no one can know that they are in love with each other, as a woman is advised against marrying below her caste. Aspen believes she should take the opportunity to have a better life. He doesn’t want to be the reason why she wouldn’t participate. America promises to participate, but she just wants to be Apen’s wife. But just before America leaves for the Squad, Aspen breaks up with America. He doesn’t want her to ruin her future by ending up in a lower caste because of him.
In the Selection they start with 35 girls. The Selection has some rules, so no one can contact the outside world unless the prince approves. Maxon also decides whether a girl can stay or go, as a girl you cannot decide for yourself when you want to leave. But there are also benefits, the girls’ families receive compensation for each week they stay. Also the girls are increasing by caste. This is how America becomes a Three.
Soon America has a girlfriend, Marlee. They constantly chat with each other, which gives America a nice and confidential feeling. She had never really had a girlfriend, so she thoroughly enjoys Marle’s presence. During the days they stay there the girls learn how to behave, the rules of the protocol, table manners and so many other things.
America has to get used to living in a palace, which makes her feel unwell and needs to go outside. When she tries to do this she is stopped by a sentry, but Maxon intervenes and goes outside with America. He’s elegant and charming, but that doesn’t make much of an impression on her.
But she does trust him and tells Maxon that she is already in love with someone else. When Maxon hears that, he suggests that he send her back home. However, that is not a solution for America as her family can use the money well. She asks if he can let her stay a little longer and in return she could be his girlfriend. Someone he can trust and who he can always talk to. Maxon immediately sees the plan.
America is relieved to be honest with Maxon. Especially when she learns that eight girls have already been sent home. America can finally enjoy her comfortable life, even though she knows it will end one day. When Maxon and America see each other, they talk about each other, and that way they get to know each other better. She also has a good relationship with Marlee, and America is convinced that Marlee must and will win the Selection.
When the palace is attacked by the rebels, America is quite scary. She had heard of the rebels, but had never really been confronted with them. Maxon explains to her that there are two rebel groups, the Northern and the Southern. The Northern people often attack the palace in order to create chaos. But the attacks of the Confederates, who want to overthrow the monarchy, are more dangerous than they usually kill. The attack is soon over, allowing life in the palace to resume.
While talking to America, Maxon finds out about real life in Illea, Ameica tells him about everything she’s going through and discovers that he is completely unaware of what is happening outside the palace. But it interests him and he listens to America’s stories. He even adjusts things, making life in Illea a bit more pleasant for everyone. Maxon promises to keep America in the palace for as long as possible unless America is ready to leave and then he won’t stop her either.
By interacting more with Maxon, her grief for Aspen fades and America realizes she has feelings for the future king. He also has feelings for her. He asks her if he has a chance and America has no choice but to answer yes.
In addition to her conversations with Maxon, America has found a daily routine consisting of meals with the royal family and spending time in the women’s room, where she spends a lot of time studying music. Everything goes perfectly until she discovers that Aspen, who has since been recruited into the army, has become her personal sentry. She finds she still loves him. Confused by her feelings for the two boys, she doesn’t know whether to be honest with Maxon that Aspen works in the palace or if she should keep quiet.
When Celeste, a ruthless girl, backhandedly attacks another of the other candidates, America notifies Maxon. She is convinced that Celeste is a bad apple and does not belong in the palace. But Maxon doesn’t want to hear about it and even leaves angrily. Because of her disillusionment with Maxon, America allows Aspen to reach out again. She enjoys his kisses and considers it Maxon’s deserves.
After another attack by the rebels, many girls are scared and the decision is made to let them go back home, leaving only 19 girls. A week later Maxon, in consultation with his parents, decides to reduce the number of girls in the Selection to the Elite, the group of the chosen girls, so that he sends everyone home except six. The survivors are Marlee, Kriss, Natalie, Celeste, Elise and America.
Maxon, who can no longer be angry with America, explains to her that the choice is not entirely his, but also has a political side. Marlee is the crowd favorite, Natalie and Kriss are charming girls, Celeste comes from a family that wants to keep Maxon’s father as an ally and Elise has relationships in New Asia, with which the country is at war. Maxon knows America still has doubts about her feelings for him, and the presence of the other candidates allows him to move on if she decides to go home. But America returns his kiss, which makes his hope grow again. America realizes that despite her feelings for Aspen and Maxon, she’s now with the Elite and now needs to take matters into her own hands and think about herself first.
Besides America there are four more children in the family: Kenna, Kota, May and Gerard. She is the middle of the children. Only America, May and Gerard still live at home. She inherited her stubbornness from her mother. She has a short temper and a big mouth and sometimes says things that get her into trouble. America is quickly the darling of the public, although she does not like to be the center of attention. She is quiet and mysterious in the eyes of the other candidates in the Selection.
Aspen is almost nineteen years old. He is a tall, slender boy with dark hair and green eyes. He’s a Six, the caste of the servants. Aspen is handsome and has two sisters, twins of sixteen years old. His father passed away three years ago.
He is handsome with honey blonde hair and brown eyes. Maxon is courteous, but very clumsy in front of girls.
She’s from Kent. Marlee has blonde hair and brown eyes. She loves movies and is very loyal.
She looks fragile with her blond hair and soft bright blue eyes. Ashley is a very quiet girl.
She is a Two and is from Clermont. She is a beautiful girl, but she is also very arrogant and constantly tries to intimidate and even take out all of her competitors by getting them sent home.
Symbols and motifs
America is sad because Aspen just dropped her and clearly doesn’t believe in the future of their relationship.
Both America and Maxon know they can trust each other. And it pleases both of them that they can talk to someone without having to think much about their words.
The other girls see that Maxon makes a lot of appointments with America and think he prefers to be with her. As a result of which they try everything to stand out with him.
America realizes she had a completely wrong view of Maxon. He’s not a distant, stiff rake at all. But he is sweet, has attention for everyone and she is convinced that he will be a very good king.
Because of her feelings for Aspen and Maxon, America doesn’t know who to choose and decides to choose herself first. This gives her the time to think and make a choice.
Structure and perspective / way of telling
The book consists of 272 pages, which are divided into 25 chapters. The story represents America Singer’s point of view, which is written in the I person.
Love belongs to all classes.
Time and place
The story is set in the present in Illea.
The story starts slowly, but as soon as America lives in the palace, you as a reader have the taste to read on. The story of life in the palace is well written and allows you to picture it, with the dresses, the competition, the handsome prince, and the intrigues. Most of the story is romantic, but there are still some storylines (the rebels and Celeste) that are clearly not finished and could play an important role in the following parts. Will America become the modern Sissi that makes you dream away?