I think like most people I picked up this book because of the cover. Almost every review I have read has commented on the cover.
There is more to this book than they cover, but like the cover this is mostly eye candy.
America Singer has been chosen for a competition to become the wife of the Prince and eventually the Queen. The set up is very much like an episode of the Bachelor. There are group meetings with the guy, everyone is swooning for him (except America), individual dates, people get eliminated. There is a host that interviews the girls and the Prince and the whole country is wrapped up in the results.
The dystopian elements in this book are pretty mild. There is an ongoing war and the US and Canada have broken up into several kingdoms. There is a caste system that was put into place several generations ago based on the work that people did. That work then became generational requirement and fixed into a caste system. This is dystopian-lite. There are complaints of widespread hunger, but it does not hold true to descriptions. It is like the author had always lived a nice middle class life and was unable to actually envision real poverty.
The Selection is not a bad book. But it lacks the deeper societal critique that should be in dystopian literature. Instead it seems to have just used the popularity of young adult dystopian literature as a plot device. Reading the reviews prior to the book, I was pretty sure it was not a great book, so I checked it out from the library instead of buying it. But I still enjoyed it.
The book basically just ends on a cliff hanger and moves immediately into the second book. So I will pick up the next book as soon as it is my turn to get it from the library.