While there's no rose ceremony, the resemblances to The Bachelor in The Selection are striking! There's elaborate dresses, priceless jewels, a bunch of girls all vying for the love and affection (or money and crown!) of the same Prince, and the tension that only comes with fierce competition. There are definitely some over-the-top cheesy girl-bonding moments, but there is also a lot of suspicion and cattiness. I loved watching the tension reach boiling points, and how quickly the girls were sneaking furtive glances at one another and switching from friends to competitors.
America is an absolute sweetheart who's full of spunk. She's stubborn and opinionated and unafraid to show it. Her interactions with Prince Maxon made for some of my favourite scenes, as I never knew what to expect from her!
"I'm not fighting. My plan is to enjoy the food until you kick me out."
I kept waiting for her to change who she was, in order to both avoid hurting Maxon's feelings and to stay in the competition longer, but she stayed true to herself. It was easy to admire her tenacity and refusal to let her circumstances dictate her actions. Even though she made it clear to Maxon that their relationship was to be merely platonic, as she was still dealing with her feelings for Aspen, I couldn't help but hope for her to let her guard down and let Maxon in.
The dystopian elements are quite light - a futuristic North America wherein everyone is divided into a different caste based on their ancestor's ability to contribute to society - but the light world-building was a non-issue for me. I wasn't interested in how North America came to be Illea (though we are leaked information throughout the book about it's formation), or how everyone was divided into a caste (though, again, the answer is hinted at) because it didn't matter: I was so caught up in America's story, and how much I hoped that she would return Maxon's affections, that I didn't care about how they had gotten to where they were at. I am interested to see what part the rebels will have to play later in the series though!
The Selection is a light-hearted, fun and entertaining read. It's got a little bit of everything - the hope for a fairytale ever-after, a spunky protagonist, two boys to swoon over and a frosting of dystopian-like elements. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it, but would recommend it to anyone who was looking for a little mindless entertainment!