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In a nutshell? This book is “The Bachelor” meets royalty.

I knew exactly what I was getting into when I checked this book out. I mean, I’m a girl; I couldn’t resist that pretty cover and that gorgeous dress. Sure, I might have known that it was going to be a prissy book, but I read it anyway.

America Singer (for the record, I strongly dislike the choice of name) is in love with a boy. A boy who is a caste below hers. Not that she’s not pretty low on the totem pole herself, but at least they had it better than the Eights.

Applications for the Selection (a competition for girls who want to marry the prince) are sent to all the young, single girls throughout the kingdom, and Aspen (the boy) encourages America to apply, his reason being that he doesn’t want to be the reason she is held back. She signs up, because hundreds of other girls will be applying as well, and what are the chances that she’ll be picked?

I think you know the answer to that.

But it doesn’t really matter, because Aspen breaks up with America a week before the announcement is made, because he is too proud to accept his girlfriend’s charity. He believes that America deserves better, and he thinks that he’s doing the right thing for her by letting her go.

Except she does get chosen for the Selection.

And Aspen realizes he’s made terrible mistake.

America goes into the competition expecting to be sent home right away. After all, she has no feelings for Prince Maxon, and she’s still in love with Aspen. Plus, she believes that the prince will be a huge snob, anyway. Until she actually meets him, that is.

That’s when the games begin.

Firecracker Scale, rated “Flame

America and Maxon share a few kisses on the lips, but America and Aspen do a little more than that. Aspen would kiss her neck and her arms, and kissing pretty much just made up their entire relationship. That could be a possible reason why I wasn’t a huge fan of his.

There are some occasional and brief sexual references: in passing, a girl states that money is not the only way to get what you want, implying sex. One of America’s maids in the palace is always terrified of the raids by the rebels, and another servant explains that it’s because during a raid, the poor girl was taken and raped, but was fortunately rescued.

When a palace worker comes to America’s home to go over the rules, he takes her aside and basically tells her: (paraphrased) “If the Prince wants a kiss, you give it to him. If he wants more than kisses, you’ll give that to him, too.” America is appalled, and we only later discover that Prince Maxon isn’t that kind of man and would never force himself upon any of the girls.

Tongue Scale: rated “Slap on the Wrist”

There are a few inappropriate uses of God’s name, 7 uses of d*mn, and 4 uses of hell.

Gore Gauge: rated “Fist Fight”

There is the occasional mention of the fighting that goes on in the kingdom, and the castle itself is attacked a few times, and I suppose it can be intense. But there was not a plethora of violence and even less blood, if any.

Other Negative Content:

Some occasional drinking of wine and alchohol.

The story was fine, I suppose. It was a decent read. The writing itself wasn’t anything special. It was just… *shrugs* meh.

I didn’t especially care for Aspen. I don’t exactly know why. He just sort of turned me off from the start.

Even America started to get on my nerves because she seemed to be SO slow.

Prince Maxon, though.

He was especially wonderful. He didn’t know how to act around other women, and was constantly awkward and uncomfortable, and I found him to be a very endearing character. I’ll finish the series just for him.

But I mean, look at that cover.