Cover art for The Selection
|Country||United States and China|
|Genre||Dystopian, Young adult, Romance|
|April 14, 2012|
|Media type||Print, ebook, audiobook|
|Followed by||The Elite|
The Selection is a young adult novel by Kiera Cass first published on April 14, 2012 by HarperCollins. It is the first in a five-book series, followed by The Elite (2013), The One (2014), The Heir  (2015) and The Crown (May 2016). The last two take place twenty years after the events in the first three.
In addition, four spin-off novellas were released. The first two, The Prince and The Guard, are narrated from the point of view of two supporting characters. The Queen and The Favorite are prequels, focusing on two other supporting characters in the main series. All four novels were collected into one volume Happily Ever After, including bonus content and epilogues.
Cass stated that she began writing The Selection after thinking about the differences between Esther and Cinderella, wondering if either of them were happy with how they ended up. She also commented that she had written the book "from start to finish", while her writing process for the other books differed.
In a dystopian fairy-tale world where society is divided into castes, with Ones as the most prosperous, consisting of royals and elites, and Eights who are mostly orphans, drug users, handicapped, and unemployable. America is a Five, the "artist" caste (e.g. musicians, artists, actors, dancers, etc.). Since their prosperity depends on their desirability, Fives live a lower class life. America, however, doesn't care, because she loves entertaining, especially with a violin. The prince of Illéa, Maxon Schreave, announces that he is following his father's footsteps by holding the Selection, a competition for the prince's hand in marriage and the crown. Despite pressure from her mother, America has no interest in entering the competition, because she already has Aspen, her secret boyfriend.
After having a conversation with her mother which lets her keep most of her savings, America decides to surprise Aspen, with dinner at the tree house. This upsets him, as he believes he should be the one to provide for her, but is unable to because he is a Six (the servant caste) and has no means of doing so since he already has to take care of his mother and siblings. In the end, Aspen decides to break up with America. The end of their relationship, plus a bribe from her mother, leads America to enter the Selection and later into the palace where she has to compete with thirty-four other girls to win the prince's heart. It also helps that her time in the palace is accompanied by a small stipend sent to her family.
America easily makes friends (Marlee Tames) and enemies (Celeste Newsome) within the first week of her stay, but her unique personality also catches the attention of the palace staff and the country. However, she still doesn't want to marry Prince Maxon, but a chance meeting in the gardens causes them to befriend each other. America still loves Aspen, but she gradually starts to fall in love with the prince. Maxon gives America his first kiss, and she begins to think that she could maybe marry him and forget Aspen. Rebels constantly attack the palace, which helps turn away the weak-hearted competitors, but also makes things tense, especially when the rebels seem to be getting closer. Things also become tense in the competition when America starts to feel jealous of Maxon spending time with the other Selected.
America eventually sees Aspen again when he enters the palace as a new member of the guard. He was drafted into the army, where he earned top honors. Aspen's appearance confuses America's feelings even more and she begins to feel like she is still in love with him when he sneaks into her room to see her. Having a romantic relationship with someone other than the prince during the competition is considered treason, and the punishment for treason can be as severe as death. America sees Aspen in spite of the possible consequences.
After an attack from the rebels that leads to three of the Selected leaving, Prince Maxon decides to narrow down the girls from ten to six, calling them The Elite. When America's name ends up among the six chosen to stay, she realizes that she does have feelings for Maxon and could see herself happy with him. With this in mind, she tells Aspen that she cannot continue their romantic liaisons. Instead of getting discouraged, Aspen claims that he will fight even harder to win her love again over Maxon. The book ends with America finally realizing that she is exactly where she ought to be — among The Elite.
- America Singer – Like her fiery red hair, America takes a rebellious attitude in concept. She tends to have a short temper, which she inherited from her mother. Despite saying she has no leadership skills, America isn't afraid to speak her mind. For example, when the palace was under rebel attack by the Southerners in The Selection, Silvia ordered America's maids to bring food and drink to the Selected. America, however, told her that the girls can take care of themselves, and ordered Anne to provide food for the royal family only. She is very stubborn and persistent at times and may jump to conclusions a lot. She can also be hypocritical but always apologizes if she is proven wrong. America's greatest fear when entering the Selection was losing her individuality, something the other Selected girls would even give up to take over the throne. Overall, America is a very courageous person that, at the end of the day, will always realize the mistakes she might have caused and will do anything to make things right. She is always afraid of losing someone she loves.
- Prince Maxon – When America first saw Maxon on TV, she believed he was a shallow and stuck-up person. Thus, when she meets him for one of the first times, she misunderstands his intentions and knees him in the groin. However, he forgives her and she later discovered that he was actually very kind and a gentleman. The two eventually became friends, talking to each other, sharing secrets, and having fun together. America guided him to better understand his kingdom and to help the lower castes. Maxon admires America for her strong will, courage, kindness, and sense of honor. At the beginning of the Selection, he mentions that he wants to be around her so that these features would rub off on him. He likes honesty and truth and he specifically asked America to trust him and his decisions and always be open with him. He is very private: he doesn't like when people interfere with his personal life (especially during the Selection where cameras follow his every step) or when the Elites gossip with each other about what he does or doesn't do with them.
- Aspen Leger – Loves America and plans to marry her eventually but knows it is better for her to enter the selection to help her family. After America is picked for the Selection, he is drafted into the army where he earns top honors in his class, and then promoted to a member of the Royal Guard at the palace.
- Marlee Tames – A member of the elite and best friend of America. Marlee first met America Singer as they were leaving for the palace. America and Marlee bonded as soon as they boarded the plane. The two quickly became friends and got along fine. After Marlee's first date with Prince Maxon, Marlee lost interest in the prince but didn't want to leave the Selection for unknown reasons. She fell in love with a guard and got caned.
- Celeste Newsome – A member of the elite, she is a Two and worked as a model. Celeste's holds a sense of superiority over the lower caste competitors like America Singer and Marlee Tames. She is confident, arrogant, knows how to use her beauty, and is willing to do anything to win, even breaking the rules of the Selection. She tricks Anna Farmer into slapping her after criticizing her parents, which gets Anna kicked out of the competition (because violence against other competitors is against the rules). Before the interviews with Gavril Fadaye, Celeste tells America to trade dresses. When America refuses and calls Celeste "a brat", Celeste rips one of her sleeves and walks away. Marlee and Emmica help hide the ripped sleeve. She became good friends with the final few of “the elite”.
- Kriss Ambers – A member of the elite. She has brown hair and is a Three. America remarks that Kriss has grown closer to Maxon throughout the course of the book.
- Elise Whisks – A member of the elite who has family connections to New Asia, a country that Illéa is at war with.
- Natalie Luca – A member of the elite whose sister was killed by rebels. She is blonde and viewed by America as someone who has her head in the clouds. Carefree spirit.
- Clarkson Schreave – King of Illéa and Maxon's father, he is often seen as strict. The girls react with fear when he gets angry. America dislikes him. It was found out that he whipped Maxon Schreave.
- Amberly Schreave – Queen of Illéa and Maxon's mother. She is from Honduragua and was a Four until she married King Clarkson at the end of his Selection. She is described as kindhearted by America. She is very loved by all her people.
Publishers Weekly gave a positive review for the book, praising the character of America. The School Library Journal, MTV, and Booklist all gave positive reviews for The Selection while in contrast, Kirkus Reviews panned the novel. The A.V. Club gave a mostly positive review, commenting that it "is something of a Hunger Games rip-off, but at least it's an entertaining one".
On January 12, 2012, a one-star review of Cass' book, The Selection, was posted on the book reviewing site Goodreads and on the reviewer's blog. Later on the same day, Kiera Cass' literary agent, Elana Roth, posted a series of derogatory tweets on the social networking site Twitter. In a conversation that Cass and Roth believed was private—but was, in fact, public—Roth called the reviewer names, and both Roth and Cass collaborated on how best to bump the negative review down and boost positive reviews by manipulating the ranking system themselves. The controversy sparked an article by Publishers Weekly speaking out against this practice and raised an outcry from multiple reviewers, bloggers, and publications against the cyber-bullying of nonprofessional reviewers by authors and agents.
Television series and film adaptation
In 2012, Cass announced that The CW had optioned the rights to her series with the intent of turning it into a television series. The series would star Aimee Teegarden as America Singer, but the pilot was not picked up to series for the fall 2012 television season. A second pilot was ordered for the CW in 2013, starring Yael Grobglas as the same character but was also not picked up by the network.
In 2015, Warner Bros. announced they had bought the film rights of the book. Denise Di Novi and Alison Greenspan of DiNovi Pictures would produce alongside Pouya Shahbazian, with Katie Lovejoy to write the screenplay.
- "Author Kiera Cass' Love Triangle Heats Up". RT Book Reviews. Retrieved May 16, 2013.
- "'The Elite': Kiera Cass talks about the sequel to 'The Selection'". EW. Retrieved May 16, 2013.
- "Young Adult Author Kiera Cass on The Selection". Teen Vogue. Retrieved May 16, 2013.
- Potts, Jessie (April 24, 2013). "Interviews: Kiera Cass and Cornelia Funke". USA Today. Retrieved May 16, 2013.
- Roth, Elana (25 March 2013). "The Elite". Publishers Weekly. 260 (12): 71. ISSN 0000-0019.
- "Children's Review: The Selection". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved May 16, 2013.
- "'The Selection' Is Another Jewel In Dystopia's Crown". MTV. Archived from the original on October 21, 2013. Retrieved May 16, 2013.
- "Review: The Selection". Booklist. Retrieved May 16, 2013.
- "Review: The Selection". School Library Journal (BookVerdict). Retrieved May 16, 2013.
- "Review: The Selection". Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved May 16, 2013.
- "The Selection, a YA book and incipient CW series, looks for royal love in a post-WWIII world". The A.V. Club. Retrieved May 16, 2013.
- "Goodreads: The Selection Review". Goodreads. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
- "Goodreads: The Selection Review". Goodreads. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
- "Should Authors and Agents Weigh In on Citizen Reviews?". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved January 19, 2012.
- "Breaking the Silence: The Selection Debacle". The Midnight Garden. Retrieved May 31, 2012.
- "Authors Behaving Badly". Pocketful of Books. Retrieved May 17, 2012.
- Ausiello, Michael (February 23, 2012). "Exclusive: FNL's Aimee Teegarden to Headline CW's Hunger Games-esque Pilot The Selection". TV Line. Retrieved July 1, 2016.
- Goldberg, Lesley (May 17, 2012). "Upfronts 2012: CW Redeveloping 'Hunger Games'-Esque Pilot 'The Selection'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 11, 2012.
- "Pilot Update!". kieracass.com. October 1, 2012. Archived from the original on October 3, 2012. Retrieved November 11, 2012.
- "Development Update: Wednesday, January 23". The Futon Critic. January 23, 2013. Retrieved July 1, 2016.
Selection, The (The CW) – Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain have received the green light to produce a second pilot for the project...
- Andreeva, Nellie (February 22, 2013). "CW Pilot 'The Selection' Casts Its Lead". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 1, 2016.
- "The Selection' finds its new lead: Yael Grobglas replaces Aimee Teegarden as America Singer". Hypable. February 23, 2013. Archived from the original on February 27, 2013. Retrieved February 24, 2013.
- Andreeva, Nellie (May 9, 2013). "'The Selection' Dead At The CW". Deadline Hollywood.
- Fleming, Mike Jr (April 22, 2015). "Warner Bros Buys YA Title 'The Selection', Sets Black List Scribe Katie Lovejoy To Adapt". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 26, 2015.