Sure to hold some appeal for fans of The Bachelor, The Selection is a peppy investigation into the lives of royalty and aspiring queens in a dystopian America. A well-thought-out backstory and a spunky narrator make this a quick, fun read, but the plot leaves something to be desired. The middle seems to drag interminably, with the situations of all characters remaining more or less the same, and then the book ends abruptly — just as things begin to pick up. The transparent plot stretching to fit a projected trilogy seems forced, but the premise is juicy enough to warrant a read. You’ll be eager for the follow-up.
America Singer, a low-caste artist in a dystopian nation, isn’t unhappy with her lot — she’s in love with Aspen, a boy who’s a caste below her, and hopes they can marry someday. But when the lottery is announced to find Prince Maxon a wife — inviting all girls of marriageable age to put their names in a drawing for fame, fortune and kingdom — and Aspen unceremoniously dumps her, America is dealt a hand she never expected. En route to court and a new life, America reluctantly realizes that everything is about to change. (HARPERTEEN, May, 336 pp., $17.99, HC, ISBN: 9780062059932, 13 & Up)