So how to describe the book?? Hhmmmm... Well I guess it's a sort of mix between The Bachelor (I've only ever watched a few episodes so I could be totally wrong on that one!) meets Kate Middleton meets Pearl Harbour (the glitzy movie not the actual event). Crap description I know but once you've read it you'll get it, we'll possibly not, but I tried! It's my first book review since high school so cut me a little wiggle room - pretty please!
Anyways! The story starts in a future version of the US known as Illea; which has been rebuilt after years of oppression under the rule of China which occurred after the debts of the US forced the government to relinquish control.
Sounds awfully dark doesn't it? Don't worry though most of that is glossed over to focus on the story of America Singer.
America is the lead character who is stuck in a system that decides your destiny based on the class you are born into. Your class is determined by your families wealth or allegiance during the revolution resulting in a classification from 1 - 8. 1 are classed as the elite and 8 the outcasts. Your class numbers dictates everything including the professions that you can enter. Luckily for America she likes her profession of musician as a 5: unfortunately for her being a 5 also dictates how poor her family is and worst of all who she can love. Queue America's love interest Aspen.
Aspen is a lower 6 who she is completely and utterly head over heels for. With all the secret rendezvous and stolen moments you are drawn into America's bubble of happiness. Then comes the announcement of the Royal selection.
The crowned Prince of Illea makes the announcement that he is ready to start the process of selecting his wife from the daughters of Illea (a nice way of saying the commoners! See thats where the Kate Middleton thing came from!) The selection is entirely voluntary but it does bring with it the chance to elevate not only yourself but also your family: if you are chosen.
So obviously as America is completely content and ready to give up her world and descend to the level of her chosen love she has no interest in entering for the chance to be crowned Princess. But after some persuasion from Aspen (who is feeling guilty that he is holding America back and is convinced that he can never earn enough to provide for her) and some bribery from her mother she enters herself believing a 5 will never be chosen...
Well you guessed it: America is selected.
Not only that but Aspen breaks her heart. So off she pops to the palace where she has no intention of ever falling in love again and convinces herself that the distance from home, the food and the benefits the competition will bring to her family couldn't have come at a better time. And who hasn't felt like packing everything and escaping for sunnier climates and all inclusive food and drinks after a break up?!
The palace not only brings a new friendship with Maxon, the crowned Prince, but a whole host of new experiences for America. As a child who was home schooled the bitching, backstabbing and new friendships prove more of a challenge than America anticipated. America's stay in the palace also raises deeper questions about the country she calls home and why it is being attacked from within.
Well that's about as much as I can say without ruining the entire book for you!
So I hope the review was helpful and possibly enticing enough for you to pick up a copy and take a look. It isn't a very long book but it is perfect for snuggling up on the sofa with on a rainy day.
If you do get the chance to read it let me know what you think.