Author: Kiera Cass
Series: The Selection #1
The Verdict: ★★★★
For: Dystopias and reality TV shows
Genres: Young Adult, Dystopia
Publication details: April 2012 by Harper Teen Publishing
Format: Kindle, 339 pages
All images link back to their respective Goodreads page
***This review contains some SPOILERS. Highlight the white passages to read them!***
For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.
But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.
Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.
I originally wasn’t 100% on this book at all. I didn’t think it was for me and I thought it would be over-hyped and crappy to boot. I was wrong. My original thoughts (28% completion) are below:-
It’s just like reading a reality TV show only I get to picture how bloody annoying the characters are instead of seeing and hearing how annoying they are.
I originally thought that America Singer needed to woman up and accept the hand that she’d been dealt – she’s poor and in love with someone in a lower caste than her (I feel you, don’t get me wrong) but then she gets chosen to be on this reality show that will inevitably improve her life for the better and the life of her family and all she cares about is the guy who spurned her.
Grow a pair.
However, reading further in, I seem to be liking her more – I like that she has decided to not change who she is as a person for a man. I love that and it doesn’t happen often enough in YA novels for me to think it’s a norm. As I’m no longer a teenager (and haven’t been for a while) and don’t generally read YA (the odd one here and there) I have to say that there are some parts to this I feel are good for teenage, young and impressionable girls. It’s giving me a good vibe so far.
Although The Selection is classed as a dystopia, I didn’t really get a distinct dystopia-vibe, there is the caste system, the governmental/royal ruling family and the rebels but other than this it just came across as a romance. Not a bad thing as it was sweet – I really like Maxon and think he’s got it all.
There was a really good love triangle between America, Prince Maxon and Aspen (the guy who spurned America in the beginning) and I sincerely hope that America chooses correctly and doesn’t make an absolute tit of herself. Although Maxon doesn’t know that he just shoved the third in their triangle towards the girl he’s after.
The characters themselves I originally had a problem with. I felt that America – as above – was far too clichéd teenager for my tastes and I felt that she needed to grow up a lot. But then later on she made some really good points: – “No, I’m not choosing him or you. I’m choosing me.”
Maxon I really liked – in all ways – he was just this side of awkward and it was too cute: “If you don’t want me to be in love with you, you’re going to have to stop looking so lovely. First thing tomorrow I’m having your maids sew some potato sacks together for you.”
He’s also got the “mixed up and totally confused about women” thing down: “What do you think my chances might be of finding a soul mate in the group of you? I’ll be lucky if I can just find someone who’ll be able to stand me for the rest of our lives. What if I’ve already sent her home because I was relying on some sort of spark I didn’t feel? What if she’s waiting to leave me at the first sign of adversity? What if I don’t find anyone at all? What do I do then, America?”
Aspen on the flip side – he talked the talk “America Singer, one day you will fall asleep in my arms every night. And you’ll wake up to my kisses every morning.” – but he couldn’t walk the walk. He left America at the first sign of adversity whereas Maxon ran towards her.
In all, I preferred Maxon over Aspen as he gave me the gentlemanly vibe and he was so cute. America also grew on me and I liked her much better towards the end of the book and I’m excited to getting around to reading The Elite. I really enjoyed this in the end and I’m glad I didn’t chuck in the towel so to speak before I got to the really good bits.