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Magan: The Selection by Kiera Cass

book cover for the selection by kiera cass

The Selection by Kiera Cass [website | twitter]
Publication Date
: April 24, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 327
Target Audience: Young Adult
Format read: ARC borrowed from Yani at The Secret Life of an Avid Reader
Challenge: Debut Author 2012 Challenge

Summary: America Singer is chosen as one of the thirty-five women vying to win the heart of Prince Maxon. She enters to help her parents out financially, thinking she’ll soon be sent home where she can then marry her secret love, Aspen. What she doesn’t expect is to strike up a secret friendship with the prince… and to slowly fall for him too.

Be prepared, readers. This is not going to be a rave review. A lot of The Selection, for me, was just okay. There were elements I liked, but I never felt fully invested in the story. Let me explain because some of my dislikes might be things that might not bother you at all.

I have heard The Selection described as ABC’s The Bachelor mixed with a dystopia. I’d say that’s a fair description, and I’m a girl who is well-versed in the television version of back-stabbing women anxiously hoping to receive a rose. I was hoping for solid world-building where something like our country morphing to a King/Queen royal class structure would make a lot of sense. Unfortunately, I found the descriptions leaving WHY questions unanswered. I do think, however, that there was enough information to follow along with the story. There was a general sense of things, but I’m a girl who likes to really understand the details.

One minor detail that seemed to negatively affect me throughout the book was the choice of names picked for the characters. I found some were too similar. Some were too odd. There weren’t many, if any, regularly named characters. When there are so many, I suppose I expect a little normalcy so that I’m  able to easily remember everyone. I don’t like having to go back to reference paragraphs because I cannot remember who a girl is. I found myself doing that quite a bit. (I will admit that all 35 characters were not fully developed. If you’ve read the Hunger Games, think about how we didn’t know all of the Tributes names.)

While it took me about 100 pages to embrace the world and feel more comfortable with the characters, there were elements of the story I did enjoy. America was a girl who was beautiful and possessed a musical talent. She didn’t come across as too perfect, too good for anyone, or too… anything. She was a bit quirky and she stood out to Prince Maxon because she was different. She was admirable, especially since she was leaving behind the love of her life, Aspen, to be part of the competition.

I didn’t feel connected to Aspen’s character. I am usually all for the underdog and fight for the the best friend to win the girl’s heart. I never felt convinced of America and Aspen’s relationship. It seemed incredibly physical and had less of a foundation. I felt like I could see right through all of the circumstances that were supposed to rip America’s heart into shreds, and I dislike predictability so much in a book.

Maxon was silly and a little over-the-top. I just had a twitter conversation with Bookalicious Pam about the over abundance of exclamation points (!!!) used by Maxon. He was extremely overzealous. However, he had some really likeable characteristics – he was super honest and I enjoyed the friendship America and Maxon established. He was kind and sweet. In my notes, I wrote, “These are the kinds of boys I usually fall for the hardest.” I knew there had to be more to him than his facade. Though I am Team Maxon and fighting for America to choose him, I don’t know where her heart is.

I will definitely continue to read the remainder of the series. I think this will be a good series for readers to follow along with. I am looking forward to the next book – it will feel like we’re just jumping into another season of The Bachelor. The crazy will still be waiting for us when we tune back in.

Check out what these bloggers had to say about The Selection by Kiera Cass:

Goodreads | Amazon

April 12, 2013 - 12:01 am

The Selection | Kiera Cass | Book Review - […] that way it really was like watching The Bachelor!” Rather Be Reading – “I never felt fully invested in the story” Pure Imagination – “The Selection and I….we have a odd […]

December 18, 2012 - 7:02 am

Magan: 2012 End of Year Book Survey - […] I needed to raise a warning flag with that one. The Disenchantments, What’s Left of Me, and The Selection also didn’t live up to my […]

June 18, 2012 - 12:09 am

Alexa @ Alexa Loves Books - Though I do still want to read this one, I knocked it down a few notches on the reading list after you told me how you felt about it. I definitely trust your opinion and think we have similar tastes so we may feel the same way about it!

April 17, 2012 - 9:28 pm

Melissa @ Writer Grrl Reads - Great review! I remember hearing so much about this book prior to its release, but there haven’t been too many positive reviews. I’m on the fence on whether or not to read this one. Personally, I just can’t get past the fact that the girl on the cover looks like she’s smelling her own armpit =P

April 17, 2012 - 6:22 am

Daisy - I’m a bit sad you didn’t love it, cause I pre-ordered it, but well, you can’t love them all right? 🙂
I also usually find myself rooting for the underdog as well, though I must say golden boys also definitely have their appeal 😉 And I’m secretly a sucker for drama like on shows such as the Bachelor (I still watch America’s Next Top Model…).
Thanks for the review!

April 17, 2012 - 4:37 am

Lori - I couldn’t agree more with your review! The names were laughable and really pulled me out of the story. I also didn’t connect to Aspen, but I did like America. Great review and thanks for the link 🙂

April 16, 2012 - 8:01 pm

VeganYANerds - Great review, Magan, I was wondering what you’d think of this, I’ve read some pretty negative reviews, mainly listing the same issues you had and I really don’t think I would bother to read this, unless I found it at the library!

April 16, 2012 - 6:24 pm

Jayla | LadyBlueJay - I am not a huge fan of reality tv, so I am not sure that this book would appeal to me. I have a lot of mixed reviews on this one.

However, I do understand where you are coming from. There are books I feel iffy about, but I read the next book in the series just because I want to see if things improve. It some cases things do get better.

April 16, 2012 - 2:46 pm

Jacinda @ The Reading Housewives - We have already talked about this a little bit, but I will talk about it again. 🙂

Yep, the world building…totally lacking.

I didn’t notice the exclamation points…how did I miss this, lol?!

Even though I just thought it was alright, I will read the rest of the series as well…stupid cliffhangers, lol.

April 16, 2012 - 12:10 pm

Anna - I totally see all your points, but…I DONT CARE I LOVE IT ANYWAY 🙂

April 16, 2012 - 10:47 am

elena - I’ve heard such mixed things about these books! The people I trust tend to lend on the “meh” side so I’m not really expecting much from The Selection at this point. Maybe it will surprise me, who knows. I like details too so it’s a shame that it seems like there isn’t much here. I’ve heard that the world-building wasn’t that great and left a lot of questions unanswered. omg I really love the point about Maxon uses excessive exclamation points as an abuser of exclamation points myself. Except I am not a character in a dystopian novel so! I find it hilarious. Fantastic review, Magan. 😀

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