December 13, 2012

Review: The Selection by Kiera Cass

Title: The Selection (The Selection #1)
Author: Kiera Cass
Release Date: April 24th, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen
Page Count: 327
Source: Borrowed from the Boston Public Library
Rating: ★★★☆☆
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.

[Summary Source: Goodreads]

I waited a very long time to get my hands on this book. I was on hold 3 different times and 2 different libraries. Maybe it's because of this anticipation that I didn't love The Selection as much as I thought I would when I first saw the pretty cover and read the lovely description in Barnes and Noble last winter.

Let's break this down:

I'm for sure not the first person to say this, but this book is basically a cross between The Hunger Games and The Bachelor. This is kind of problematic for me, even though I like both of these concepts individually. I mean, The Hunger Games deals with sadistic dictatorships, rebellion and teens killing teens. The Bachelor is a TV show about some guy going on tons of dates with different women until he picks the one he thinks he thinks he might want to spend the rest of his life with.

I'm not entirely offended by this combination, mostly because of Prince Maxon. Maxon is by far my FAVORITE in this whole book. He's responsible, mature, honest and caring. If I could, I would marry him. But crushing aside, Maxon makes this mashup work because he adds some seriousness to The Bachelor aspect of the plot. He's the prince who's looking for a wife to help him run the kingdom. He has to deal with princely meetings and rebels who want to kill him and take down his country. Our bachelor isn't going to get distracted by some hussy three weeks after he gives out the final rose and end up as a tabloid scandal - partially because Maxon would never and partially because he just doesn't have that option.

As for the protagonist, America's okay. I like how she's so loyal to her family and insistent on helping Maxon. I even feel for the poor girl - her relationship status issues are particularly harsh. But I'm not really into the whole love triangle, catty side of her. Obviously she's just trying to make everything better, but it really doesn't work. Did I think it would work for her? No. And it really shouldn't because then she'd be a total Mary Sue. But I kind of wish the way it panned out wasn't so cliche. Furthermore, I'm really very mad at her for how she handles everything at the end of the book. This might be because Maxon's my favsies, but I'm pretty sure even non-Maxon lovers can understand how I feel.

Given everything I've noted about America, I don't think I need to go into how I feel about Aspen. But to sum it up with one of my favorite 90's sitcom phrases: "GO HOME, ROGER." 

And when I say Roger, I'm clearly referring to Aspen. So just go home, Aspen, okay?

The world building also isn't so great. It took until the middle of the book for us to get a history lesson (literally). Up until that point, all we really knew was the bare bones of the caste structure and why the selection happens. And then once we do get our history lesson, it's suggested that everything we're learning might just be royal propaganda. It could be an interesting plot point for the next books in the series, but it was kind of frustrating to finally get a little context for this part-modern, part-medieval world only to find out that it might all be lies without even a hint of what the truth might actually be.

It's important for me to note, though, that I didn't totally dislike this book. It was rather enjoyable, very readable and I didn't really want to put it down. I just expected it to be really good based on all the hype and I was surprised when I was more than halfway through and it was still just okay. I'm still interested in reading the sequel, though. The summary makes it sound like we'll be branching out from The Bachelor themed drama and into something a little more exciting, so that's a plus.

The long and short of it?

Plot: Intruiging. I definitely want to see this developed.
World Building: Eh. We're really not given enough.
Character Development: Pretty good. Maxon's obvi wonderful and even though I don't love America or Aspen all the time, it's not necessarily because either character is particularly underdeveloped, it's just my personal feelings.
Prose: Nothing special
Would I Recommend This Book?: It's a quick, decent read. I'm not sure I would buy it, but I might take it out the library again.


It looks like the CW is making a TV show based on the book. ETHAN PECK IS GOING TO BE PRINCE MAXON.

I watched the ABC Family 10 Things I Hate About You show pretty much exclusively for this man. He has this really deep, yummy voice that totally matches his exceptionally good looks. And he's Gregory Peck's grandson, which is pretty cool.

Not to mention, William Moseley is going to play Aspen. I don't love Aspen, but I like William Moseley. And so does my Narnia-loving little sister so maybe this'll be a show we watch together if it the CW ever decides to air it.

Personal Plea: CW, please decide to air this. I'm going to need something to fill the Gossip Girl shaped hole in my heart and this could very well be it.


  1. I'm really interested in reading this, even though it's really been getting MEH reviews for the most part. I still think it sounds pretty intriguing!

    1. I think I hyped it up in my head before I started reading. But it's a quick read and I enjoyed it. Just not as much as I really thought I was going to. I would definitely still read it, if only for Prince Maxon. And for the CW show. Now that Gossip Girl is over I'm gonna need something new.


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