Written by Kiera Cass
Published June, 2012 by HarperCollins
Genres: Dystopian, Romance
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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 the palace and compete for the heart of the 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.
Initially, I had trouble getting into this one – and I mean A LOT of trouble. Right up until America gets into the palace, this book was dry and hollow. It was almost enough to make me want to put the book down then and there. However, I perservered, and while The Selection isn’t going to win any awards in my imaginary-personal-reading-competition, I was able to finish it and find myself wondering what was going to happen in Book Two.
The first few chapters were pretty flimsy. I didn’t connect with America, Aspen or her family or the world that Kiera Cass had built. It seemed like all we got as readers were the bare bones of the story, with no heart. There was something missing, and I found myself unable to read past one chapter a night. For quite some time I pushed on, until we finally got to the palace and things started happening.
That being said, I never really felt I was ENJOYING any of the characters or rooting for any of them. It was quite a quick, light read once things got going, but I still can’t put my finger on what exactly was missing from The Selection.
The relationship between America and Maxon was fun but quite predictable, and I couldn’t help but envision the actors that had been cast as the characters in the CW show and think how very WRONG they were. Maxon himself seemed like a cardboard cutout at times – his constant ‘my dears’ – and I just couldn’t see him as a teenager that America would enjoy spending time with.
I think the thing I enjoyed most about this book was the competition itself. I liked seeing which girls went, and which stayed, and the reasoning behind it. Despite all the flaws within The Selection, once the competition got going, you kept reading to see who went home and who stayed.
The world-building within this book wasn’t superb at all. I didn’t find myself wondering about the world outside of the palace’s walls, nor did I gasp or get frightened when the ‘rebels’ attacked the palace by merely throwing around furniture. There is a lot left to be desired in this aspect. If you’re looking for a gritty dystopian with stellar worldbuilding, give this one a miss.
The ending left me stunned – and not in a good way. There is practically NO ENDING, rather the book ends mid-chapter, it seems, as America is waking up for the day. Although I disliked many parts of this book (ending included) and the fact it’s proving to be quite predictable, I will probably be picking up the second book just to see how the rest of the competition plays out.
There are a lot of things wrong with The Selection, but for me, once it got going, it was good enough to finish. In any case, you’ll have to make up your own mind on this one.
Recommended to: If you’re looking for a light and quick read, and are willing to give the book the benefit of the doubt, give The Selection a go.