Book Review: The Selection

Title/Author:  The Selection by Kiera Cass
(The Selection #1)

Genre:  Young Adult, Speculative Fiction, Romance, Chick Lit

Published:  April 24th, 2012 by HarperTeen

Hardcover, 327 pages

How I Got This Book:  Waited and waited until it finally became available at my library!

Why I Picked It Up?:  Not gonna lie, I am a super huge fan of The Bachelor.  And when I saw this cover and found out it was a bachelor-esque novel, I just HAD to read it!

Book Jacket Blurb:  “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.”

My Review of the Work:

I understand and realize that this novel (or rather, the author and publicist of this novel) has gotten some bad press because of a very bad twitter reaction to a negative review.  (If you have no idea what I am talking about, just google it).  While I do not condone the actions, I decided that I would still read this novel because I was really looking forward to it.  And I approached this novel with a clear head and an open mind, and this is what I found.
I really enjoyed this novel!  Mostly.  With its bachelor-esque premise, I was really hoping this novel was going to be something that I would like.  And I found The Selection to actually have a little more substance and development than I was expecting!

The premise of this novel is pretty straightforward:  In a futuristic America (with a new name, naturally), the prince of Ill èa has reached the age of marriage.  So, letters arrived at the doorsteps of each and every house where a female ages 16-20 resides, regardless of caste.  Females register, and one girl from each of the 35 regions will be chosen to compete for the Prince’s affection.  This process is called The Selection.

America Singer, a caste 5 musician who has already found the love of her life, does not want to enter The Selection.  She has no interest in Prince Maxon, especially after she finds out that Aspen, the caste 6 boy that she is in love with, is saving money for a future with her.  But Aspen doesn’t want the guilt of holding America back from the opportunity of a lifetime and convinces her to enter the drawing, but not without a fight ensuing, resulting in them breaking up.  Then America is Selected, and her whole life changes.  She heads to Prince Maxon’s palace with the intention to stay as long as possible for the financial compensation her family is receiving, but she never expects to like the Prince, let alone enjoy his company.

I found myself really liking the world set up in this futuristic America setting.  The world is divided into castes, from the Royal Ones to the rebel Eights.  Each caste is assigned certain occupations that they can choose from, which in turn defines the castes monetarily.  This set up lends to an interesting dynamic when girls from all different castes are thrown together in the same living situation.  The prejudices, the jealousies, and the overall attitude towards life add to the drama of The Selection in a very realistic way.  We are also exposed to the uprisings from those groups who are not happy with the country is, which adds another layer of world-building to this otherwise simple and dramatic story.  The rebel attacks allow readers to gain a sense of how the world really is as well as a sense of Prince Maxon’s character.  In this first-of-the-series novel, you get enough world-building to allow this story to develop without too many questions or concerns, lending to an easy-going, flowing story.

I also appreciated the development of our main characters, America and Prince Maxon.  Prince Maxon, who has remained aloof to his people for most of his life, begins to show his true colors as The Selection continues.  And his true colors are beautiful, exactly how you would want a future King of your country to be.  He is the man that is foreshadowed to be a leader in changing the way the world is, especially for the lower castes.  Through his dealing with the rebel attacks and his developing friendship with America, Prince Maxon becomes a boy that you start rooting for!  And our narrator, America, is a strong young woman who has been completely broken.  But her determination and upfront candidness with Prince Maxon has impressed him enough to keep her around for a while so that her family can benefit from her being Selected.  And through this process, America finds herself torn between her past and her potential future, between her first love and the affections of the Prince who is right in front of her.  I found America to be a believeable character with realistic feelings and convincing character development, really allowing me to enjoy this story.

The one thing I didn’t really appreciate about this novel was the ending.  It isn’t that the novel ends badly per say, I just almost wish that she would have ended it about 50 pages earlier and kept the somewhat surprising twist towards the end as a cliffhanger leading in to the next book.  Instead, she expounds upon this new development, and the ending of this novel becomes less exciting than it could have been.

But overall, I found The Selection to be an interesting and enjoyable novel with a fun story line, and I am looking forward to see where the series goes from here.
My Bookshelf Rating:

A Middle Shelf Book!

I was happy to find that I enjoyed this novel.  It is a cute and feel-good story with some futuristic world development that will hopefully be expanded in the rest of this series.  The characters are likeable and the plot is not over done.  The Selection keeps a realistic twist on a bachelor-esque quest for the new princess while developing the characters and world in such a way that keeps readers interested.   This is a simple story that I found myself enjoying (though I wish it ended a little better), and I will be picking up the second book

Love and Princess Dresses,
Jennifer

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12 thoughts on “Book Review: The Selection

  1. Amanda says:

    That's surprising to me that you wished it would've ended on a cliffhanger, I am impatient though and love getting as much info as possible as quickly as possible. lol. thanks for the review!!-Amanda

  2. inlibrisveritas says:

    This sounds great! I think I'll try to find it now. I wasn't entirely sure if I wanted to read it given the negativity that occurred but now I think I will. Great review!Michelle

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