Castes and Chance in “The Selection” Series

By Lexie Kauffman ‘22

“The Selection” by Kiera Cass is a dystopian young adult book based in a world called Illéa.  In Illéa, everything (job, salary, opportunities) is based on your caste. Money and marriage act as the only escape. Your caste determines who you are, and you wear it like a piece of clothing.

The title of the highest caste belongs to the royal family: King Clarkson, Queen Amberly, and Prince Maxon. For years, the royal men of Illéa participate in a Selection to choose their wives. Any eligible girl has the option to enter the Selection. Thirty-five girls are randomly drawn in a lottery to get the chance to fight for the heart of their prince.

America Singer is a five. Her mother wishes that she would marry up, like her older sister, Kenna. However, America has been secretly dating Aspen Ledger, a six. Supporting his entire family, Aspen feels that he cannot take care of America. He convinces her to enter the selection, thinking she will not get picked. 

Maxon Schreave is a one and the Prince of Illéa. His rule approaches fast, but he cannot do it alone. His Selection has begun, and America gets chosen to represent her province in the fight for the prince. The book follows America as she gets thrust into a royal situation that she never wanted.

Going into this book, many may expect a princess love story; however, this is not the case in America’s story. While she may be in a palace, she is dealing with war, rebellions, evil people, guilt, and many more struggles. The underlying romance fuels the nonromantic features, creating an atmosphere that leaves readers on the edge if their seats.

This book is the first of many. The author, Kiera Cass, wrote the original trilogy and was met by adoring fans. Cass then wrote a book filled with short stories in other character’s points of views. When that was not enough, Cass wrote a short two book spin off based on America’s daughter.

The Selection is a series that you practically must read in a short period of time. I was enthralled as I read this series, finishing all three original books in one day. These books are targeted towards young adults but are acceptable for young teens entering middle school. Some heavier topics are discussed throughout the series; however, nothing is extremely explicit. I would recommend this book series for anyone 12 and up.

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