The Selection by Kiera Cass [website | twitter]
Publication Date: April 24, 2012
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:
- Jacinda at The Reading Housewives
- Pure Imagination
- Katie at Katie’s Book Blog
- Jen at Makeshift Bookmark