Review: The Selection by Kiera Cass
Author: Kiera Cass
Series: The Selection #1
Publication Date: April 24, 2012
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. (Cover and synopsis from Goodreads.)
An Attempt to be Unbiased…
I LOVED this cover when I saw it, and automatically wanted to read it, no matter what. Yeah, we all judge a book by a cover sometimes. And then I heard the controversy over this book and one of its reviews, and I have to admit, that did make me a bit hesitant. But I knew I still wanted to read it and so I tried to go into the book as unbiased as possible. There was a chance I’d love this book, and there was a chance I’d hate it, and there was a chance I’d think it was okay. Just like with any book, really. Luckily, I ended up really enjoying it. I also met Kiera Cass recently and she was a total sweetheart.
An Iffy Start…
That’s not to say I didn’t have my problems with this book. It started off with me having more problems with the book than parts that I enjoyed, but they were mostly little problems, not huge things. For instance, the names in this book are kind of annoying, especially the fact that there are at least 3 characters with some form of the name Amber. But it’s set in the future, and more and more parents are naming their kids strange names with weird spelling so I guess that’s to be expected.
Also, it was kind of convenient that even though America didn’t want to enter the Selection, her parents wanted her to and her boyfriend, Aspen, basically forced her to enter. And don’t even get me started on Aspen. He was just such a goody two-shoes and I was already tired of him by page 50. I mean, I value putting other people before me and thinking of their needs before mine. I think that’s a great virtue. But Aspen lets people walk all over him and he just seems to be this guy with a hero complex who has no other qualities whatsoever. And yes, there are people like this in real life and like I said, I strive to put others before myself and I think kindness is the highest virtue but there really doesn’t seem to be anything else to Aspen. I am totally, 100% Team Maxon. In fact, I wanted Aspen to die in this book just so she could grieve and then MOVE ON.
But I did have a few issues with Maxon, as well. I think Cass made him talk the way he talks and use phrases like, “my dear” to make him sound princely, but when he calls America “my dear” it just makes me feel like he’s an old man talking to a young girl. It really annoyed me. And maybe that’s what she was trying to do, since America really hates it when he calls her that, too.
But I Squeed With the Best of Them…
I have to admit, though, even though I had problems in the first parts of the book, I was sucked into this story. Reality TV shows like The Hills and America’s Next Top Model are guilty pleasures of mine and this just fit that bill in book form for me.
I loved the cat fights, and I ended up loving Maxon even though I still don’t like him calling the girls “my dear.” And I really enjoyed learning about the world that they live in, and I liked the political subplot. And I also love the decision America makes near the end in regards to the two boys. I don’t want to go into detail because of spoilers, but I think it was a nice change, because we normally don’t see that with love triangles.
My rating for The Selection by Kiera Cass:
Actually 4.5 stars. I went into this book trying to be as unbiased as possible, and when I finished, I found myself really aching for the next book, The Elite, which I have since bought and will be reading VERY SOON.
JessicaMay 17, 2013 at 5:41 pm
I agree. I agree. I agree. And…like you I'm a total sucker for reality TV and this book just "spoke" to me. I loved it even with the flaws… I'm reading the Elite this weekend! :)
Natalie NatflixandbooksMay 17, 2013 at 8:48 pm
I originally passed on this novel when it first came out because of the drama that surrounded this book, too. As readers, it is sometimes hard to forget the drama and just enjoy the book, so I'm glad you were able to do that. This still doesn't sound like my cup of tea, but I might give it a try someday. Great review!
DanaMay 18, 2013 at 3:04 pm
I'm still working on this one but it's just meh for me. I'll finish it because I want to see how it ends but I'm not sure that I'll rush out to get The Elite unless the ending blows me away.
KayMay 19, 2013 at 12:25 am
I really want to read this. I can't believe I haven't yet. I will be getting this at the library the next time I go there. I agree with you on the names I have heard that are in this book, gah.
Midnyte ReaderMay 20, 2013 at 6:55 pm
I am intrigued, but also hesitant. I enjoyed your review though. I love guilty pleasure books sometimes. They definitely have their place.
Brandi KosinerMay 20, 2013 at 8:54 pm
I was also drawn into the story, glad you were squeeing with us
fakestephMay 21, 2013 at 3:14 pm
I'm glad you were able to go in with an open mind and really enjoy this one! I'm not sure I'm ever going to get to it, but man do I want that dress, my dear. ;)
SarahMay 22, 2013 at 10:18 pm
I totally agree! A flawed book, but definitely enjoyable, and Kiera Cass is super cute! I wish the library would hurry up and get me The Elite already…
AutumnWindAugust 8, 2013 at 4:32 pm
I love this book too! I totally agree with the Aspen thing! I'm team Maxon for sure!
sam sellsApril 12, 2014 at 8:05 am
I totally agree!!!! TEAM MAXON!! I also kept hoping Aspen would die and then when he appeared at the castle i was hoping that America would tell Maxon who Aspen was and get him removed but no…. Some of the choices made by America annoyed me but all in all I loved this book!! I found the caste system in Illéa interesting in comparison to the social class system that began to occur in the early 18th century. The social class system has less categories as it only has three; upper, middle and lower. Whereas the caste system in Illéa is comprised of eight. The Selection takes girls from all classes so naturally separation occurred between them instantly. Cass uses the relationship between the class system and the caste system to her advantage. The way the two systems are similar means that we have the ability to understand the girls feelings towards each other better as we already have an understanding of our own system. One of the girls, Celeste, immediately separates herself from any of the girls who have a lower caste than her. The day they all fly to the palace is a great example of this as Celeste arrives late to the airport and she claimed it was because “…quite few people wanted to see me off. Couldn't help it.” The way she talks and treats the other girls is typical of a stereotypical upper class member. Another way the caste system relates to the social class system is how they both have some control over who you marry. Before Maxon, America falls in love with Aspen but because he is a six in the caste system and she is a five they would have some trouble getting married. In Illéa you may technically marry who ever you wish but there are both social expectations and legal matters that apply. This is similar to the social class system. Both of these systems rely heavily on social expectations and pressure to keep them in place. Even though the social class system started in the 18th century we still see that structure and separation today. Cass uses this the create a deeper meaning to the interactions between characters and to give purpose and justification to their actions. I cannot wait for The One to be released and I have pretty much spent the last couple of months going through every review page i could find on these books :) Some people loved them and others not so much. I think Cass did an amazing job on this series capturing the hearts of all her readers at least once. OOoo!!! and the cover for the series I found very interesting and quite impressive. The first book is blue. The second is red. And the third is white. When you put them together; blue, red, white. The colours of the american flag! Relating to where our protagonist got her name :) Brilliant idea!! Also the way the One is white has definitely caught my eye. I hope that is a wedding dress for America and Maxon's wedding :) And finally to anyone who hasn't read this series: READ THEM!! Even if you end up hating them its worth it! :)