*Originally posted on Southern Bred, Southern Read Blog on 11/04/14*
When I read the description for this book, I knew straight away it was right up my alley. It sounded like a non-reality TV version of pretty much any dating show. 35 girls in a competition to get a handsome young prince? Add in a dystopian world and a few love triangles? Oh yes, this is definitely my kind of book.
So, this girl named America Singer is born into a musical family of a lower caste (the caste system is by numbers in this country) and has just came of age right at the same time the young prince is finally of age to look for a lady. All the girls from the country register in a lottery of sorts and get “randomly” chosen to come to the castle and basically compete for the prince. Sounds awesome right? Well America didn’t think so. She already had a guy named Aspen who was even lower and poorer than her family but was super swoon worthy. Because of their differences in the social rankings, they both pretty much knew that being together in the future is a long shot, but they still longed and hoped. America doesn’t want to sign up for the lottery, but her family really wants her to (especially her mother who is a little cray) because it really is a good opportunity for the family. You see, whatever girl wins becomes the princess but their whole family gets bumped up to One status (the highest, basically royalty only) which means they are set for life. Even if the girls don’t get picked, their families receive a stipend while they are away. Money is money, especially when you’re poor.
Anyway, so Aspen thinks America needs to at least enter the picking just so he can say in the future that he didn’t hold her back. Well as luck would have it, she actually gets selected. America’s pissed, her family is stoked, her and Aspen break up, and her world pretty much falls apart. She goes off to the competition ready to lose but ends up doing really well. The people of the country love her because she is real. She speaks to them and wants to meet them when the opportunity arises. America right away makes a BFF, Marlee, who turns out to be awesome.
America assumes she is going to hate Prince Maxon because of course he is super hot and royal so that automatically means he is going to be stuck up and awful… Only he isn’t. And they hit it off really well. The rest is all cake from there, right? Except it’s not. It’s never that easy because c’mon, this is a YA novel.
The process of girls getting cut and getting to know the other competitors was pretty enjoyable as well. Their are some bitches and some really sweet girls. The competition is pretty cut throat because some girls have been waiting for this their whole lives. Add in a douchebag king and a sweet queen and you’ve got some pretty interesting eliminations. By the end of the book the 35 girls are narrowed down to the Elite six, which is where book two picks up.
This was a super quick read for me. I really enjoyed the competition and seeing America change through the book. Where she ends up at the end isn’t the same person she was in the beginning. It’s a really cute read that I enjoyed. I loved the two sequel books as well. This series ranks in my top trilogies and I am super stoked when the author announced that their was going to be more in the series! Can’t wait for The Heir next year