Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Selection
by Kiera Cass

The Selection
Kiera Cass
Grades 7+
(borrowed from my library)

Imagine be chosen to date a Prince to find out if you could be the bride for him. Would you give up everything you have known and leave your family to do so? This is the challenge that faces America Singer, a member of the 5 caste system. Not only that, she leaves her home in Carolina after her heart has been broken by her boyfriend.

America is thrust into the spotlight, into the palace and reluctantly into the Prince Maxon’s arms. There at the palace she quickly learns that some of the girls are wonderful but others, such as Celeste, are beyond spoilt and will do anything to win Maxon’s regards. Lady America does not want to be a part of the games—she is there to help her family since she earns money to send home to her parents and siblings and they desperately need the money. Much to her surprise, America forms a friendship with Maxon and they grow closer as the Selection process happens.

When rebel tensions continue to build and the shocking surprise of her ex-boyfriend at the Palace as a new guard, what will Lady America decide to do. She knows that her feelings for her ex-boyfriend are still within her but Maxon is stirring feelings in her that she cannot name.  When he chooses her to remain in the competition, making clear his intentions, America will need to make a choice herself—does she stay and fight for Maxon or does she retreat to her former life?

This is a great novel! There are some great discussion points within this story such as the castes being numerically rated and how they refer to themselves as their number; how being from that caste defines what type of career you can have; where the rebels are coming from and what they could be looking for—and how little we know about the upcoming problems and America as a role model for young women.

I am beyond thrilled with this book and I CANNOT wait to read the next in the serious—The Elite! I will be anxious to read it but it does not come out until end of April alas.

My Rating: 5 stars

Love Unscripted
by Tina Reber

Love Unscripted
Tina Reber
(Read using a NetGalley copy)

What can I say about this title, other than Wow?! I was quickly drawn into this novel. Truth be told, it was rather shocking. From the get go Taryn is a protagonist most of us would love to have as a friend. She is a hard working, down-to-earth, honest and loyal almost to a fault. 

Enter Ryan Christensen, the current heartthrob actor. Ryan cannot believe how crazy his fans get. They drive him to escape into Taryn’s pub one afternoon and immediately he is drawn to her calming presence. She does not fall all over herself trying to get him to like her. She even turns him down twice!

What could have been a simple novel about two people from different backgrounds getting together turns into something much more. We are thrust into their world as they learn about each other, fall in love and learn to be a couple in Ryan’s crazy world.

I could not help but be drawn into their story as they navigate the ups and downs of life in the spotlight. Reber has created characters that I could just not help but like, sympathize and root for in this debut novel. So much so, I stayed up WAY too late having to finish it. With Love Unscripted, we can immerse ourselves into an unlikely world by living vicariously through Taryn.

Now that is not saying that the story is not without its faults. There are some contradictory moments such as discussion of Taryn being wealthy but then worried about money at moments. Part of that contradiction lies in her money is tied up in investments--something important but not liquid assets. Other parts that may grate on others might be Taryn and Ryan both have moments of self-deprecation and can come off whiny but we can all do that at times too. I feel that it leads to a feeling of authenticity because while as a reader we might assume their lives are glamorous and perfect, Reber does a nice job balancing it with real life too.  

If you enjoy the story as much I did, be sure to check out Love Unrehearsed to read how Taryn and Ryan’s story continues.