by Kiera Cass
This trio of books can essentially be described as The Bachelor in a post-war time period. Following a war between Asia and North America, new countries were formed including the setting of these novels, Illéa. Illéa was named after its creator, Gregory Illéa, with an eight-tiered caste system, which is explored more deeply in the third book, The One. America Singer and her family are considered fives in the caste system, making them artists. Her family is better off than some, but they often still struggle to afford food and other basic necessities. Since women take on the caste of the person they marry, they rarely marry down; however, America is fully ready to marry Aspen, a six, who she's been secretly dating for several years. America is the only child in the Singer family eligible to enter the selection, a competition between 35 girls from across Illéa to win Prince Maxon's heart and become the future queen. Her whole family, especially her mom, pressure her to enter the competition, but she refuses until after Aspen encourages her to, thinking that she won't be chosen, but still not wanting to hold her back. Alas, the day comes and much to America's dismay (and her mother's excitement) she is chosen for the selection and is soon shipped off to the castle. America and her fiery red hair quickly make her a fan favorite, but this shifts often throughout each novel. Similarly, her relationship with Prince Maxon changes frequently, and often quickly, throughout all the books. The girls quickly realize that living in the castle isn't all it's cracked up to be when they find themselves under rebel attacks several times in each book. The motive behind the attacks is explored more when the attacks become more frequent and more deadly. In the end, can America learn to love Maxon, letting go of her long-time lover Aspen? Will Prince Maxon choose America to be his bride? And will they both live to tell about it? Well, you'll just have to read them to find out. Series rating 6/10. Buy The Selection here on Amazon. Buy The Elite here on Amazon. Buy The One here on Amazon. Buy the box set here from Amazon.
Shooting Stars by Allison Rushby
Jo is a sixteen-year-old high school student living in Los Angeles who just so happens to be a paparazzo. Her small frame and height give her an advantage in the field and she can easily make a few hundred dollars a night, all of which she's saving to go to a photography school to make her dreams of becoming a portrait photographer come true. Her favorite star to shoot is teenage heartthrob Ned Hartnett, so when she's offered sixty thousand dollars to go undercover and take pictures of Ned at a retreat facility, she finds it way too hard to say no. Next thing she knows, she's face to face with Ned and the more she gets to know him the harder it is to sell his pictures. Faced with a huge moral decision, deciding whether or not to sell the pictures and make her dreams come true, or respect Ned's privacy, Jo's job just got harder when she finds out where the sixty thousand is coming from and why. Rating 5/10. Buy it here on Amazon.
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