*SPOILERS ARE MARKED*
Description (from Goodreads): 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.
Title: The Selection
Author: Kiera Cass
Page Count: 336
Series: The Selection Trilogy #1 (but there is a spin off series)
How I Got This Book: I rented it from the library, but I want to buy it soon.
I did not expect to like this book. I did not expect to love this book. But you know what? The best things never happen exactly the way you’d expect.
So let’s just clear this up now. With this book, you either love it, or you hate it. Nobody seems to just “like it”. I am so glad and surprised to say that I loved this book. There has been a lot of controversy of this being “The Bachelor meets the Hunger Games”. I mean, I see where those people are coming from, but I don’t think that they are 100% correct.
I see how a lot of people will think “oooh, Hunger Games!” because it is a dystopian book. That is where the similarities end. The main characters are so completely different (in my opinion). Also, I think people wander to the hunger games because of the “Selection” part. A drawing that puts you in a situation. That’s all that is similar in that part, too. Very basic, “Oh, it’s a dystopian novel? Hunger Games rip off.” Going on here with these reviews.
Now, the Bachelor part I can see a little bit more. Because “The Selection” in the book is basically (these are not going to be spoilers, by the way. This is, like, the opening scene of the book.) These contestants (girls) get chosen to be on a reality show where they try to win the heart of the famous Prince Maxon. I know, that sounds stupid right? That’s kinda what I thought at first, too. Just hang on, it gets better. So, the whole concept is vaguely reminiscent of the Bachelor.
So now starting what I think of the actual book and not just its comparisons. I grabbed this book because of the cover. That was original. I had seen this book on the shelves at book stores for about a year before I decided to see what it was about. When I looked it up I was a little disappointed and hesitant. For two reasons. 1) A dystopian fantasy (I don’t like those. I’ll do a post about it later.) And 2) “The Bachelor meets the Hunger Games”. First reaction, “That sounds like it would be really girly and petty.”
But finally that cover got to me, like it has almost everybody else in the world. So I rented it from the library to read during a read-a-thon and I was very happily surprised. There were a few moments, only a paragraph or page long, that I felt were a little girly, but you know what? That’s okay sometimes. And the rest of the story made up for it. (*SPOILERS* for instance, when Celeste walks into the airport. The description of the walk and lipstick were a little cliché. Also when Celeste rips America’s dress. Etc, etc. *END OF SPOILERS*)
The first 80 pages or so is a lot of set up and world building and build up. But it really makes you feel like you are beginning to understand America’s situation. It all fits in place just as it should.
So then the story progresses and I can’t say many more specifics without spoiling you. But I can tell you about some characters. I have a very unpopular opinion about one of the characters: I like America Singer. I did not feel like her movements and dialog were forced feeling and automatic. I did not find her annoying. And I’ll be honest: I was expecting to. Some book reviewers that I really admire really find America Singer very annoying. So I was going into this thinking I wouldn’t like her. But, much like the book itself, she surprised me.
I really admired her emotions and her voice and her overall take on the world around her. I loved the way that she approached things. She was so very human. I loved how she *SPOILER* went into the Selection with a very negative view point. She went into it thinking that she would hate the prince and that she would hate the palace and that she would be miserable. And then she got surprised. When she was there she started to get sucked into it just a tad, and I thought that that was really cool. Because she wasn’t strong enough to deny some feelings and to get herself out of some situations, and I really like it when main characters have weaknesses. Not to mention the weight she had to carry around about Aspen and such.*END OF SPOILERS*
I’ll admit, her name is a little *cough cough* a lot *cough cough* ironic. But once you are neck deep sucked into the story, you don’t really think about it.
I loved the imagery that Kiera Cass painted. You could see everything perfectly in your mind. When it was at America’s house and treehouse it wasn’t that much of a stretch. Because I know what a house looks like. And I know what a treehouse looks like. Just a rectangle with a roof, basically. So that part wasn’t something that awed me. But when the story progresses to the palace scenes, I could see it perfectly. I wanted to walk on that squishy carpet. I could imagine that staircase and the marble floors. Because, unlike a house, I’ve never been to a palace before. And while I have seen pictures of them, each one is so different. And you don’t really know what a palace is like just from looking at a picture of it. So I was very happy that the scenery and settings were painted so well.
Also, the character development was fabulous. With the two main characters (*kind of spoilers* Maxon and America*end of kind of spoilers*) the character development was even better. I was expecting to hate a certain someone along with America. But this book is just full to the brim with surprises because I ended up LOVING him and he has been added to the list of “My favorite fictional characters ever”. With America I have already kind of described her character development when I said my thoughts on her.
I did find the book pretty predictable. But that wasn’t anything on the author or even the story. But when you have a plot like this, there are only so many things that you can hide in it, you know? Some things were obvious just because that is what happens in stories.
I think that I would have given this book a 4.5 out of 5 stars, because of those few really girly scenes and those few awkwardly written conversations. But I just can’t bring myself to do it. I cannot stop thinking about this book and I want nothing more than to just get my hands on the sequel ASAP. I loved the characters too much and the imagery too much and the overall way things happened too much to give this book anything less than it deserves, 5 stars.
I am going to wrap up this portion of the review, but down below I will have a couple paragraphs of things that I loved about the book that are total spoilers.
*MAJOR SPOILERS FOR THE SELECTION PORTION OF THIS REVIEW. IF YOU HAVE NOT YET READ BOOK ONE OF THE SELECTION SERIES SCROLL PAST THIS PART UNTIL YOU SEE A WARNING THAT THE SPOILER RAIN IS OVER*
Okay, so all of you have read this book. Right? Good. First topic of spoilery discussion: MAXON. I love him so much you don’t even understand. But let us start at the beginning of this love for him.
When America was chosen for the selection and it was describing Maxon on the news channel thing, I was expecting to really not like him at all. I mean, he seemed pretty stuffy and proper. And those kinds of characters kind of drive me crazy. And then when America is in the garden that first night and he was there, at first, I was sure my suspicions would be confirmed.
But then when he and America decided on being friends and buddies and whatnot, he started to be very casual and so incredibly sweet. I was so overjoyed with the fact that the majority of the book was those awkwardly cute scenes of friendship between the two. Every conversation between those two was just so adorable and perfect.
I’m pretty sure that while I was reading this book, there was a huge, dumb grin spread across my face.
That being said, when the whole Aspen in the palace thing broke loose, I was a little sad. Because I am rooting for Maxon so hard that anything to do with Aspen infuriates me. Which brings me to my next portion of this spoilery review (which is basically me saying why Maxon is so much better than Aspen and not actually a review…mwahahaha).
Something that really made Maxon win me over instead of Aspen is that when Kiera Cass was describing Maxon’s kiss, it was gentle and sweet and shy. It was pure love and admiration. And when Aspen’s kiss was described it was fierce and greedy. Which brings me to the conclusion that Aspen is a pig. I do believe that a long time ago he did love America. He really loved her. For who she was. But then I think that the hard, brutal work, and never having enough of anything got to him. And I think that he saw America as his. Something that he could have. And that love was muted by greed.
Also, I think that is a lying goat for saying that that girl tripped.
Maxon purely cares about America. In the most innocent way. He just loves her and she makes him happy and visa versa. And that is why I am rooting for Maxon.
And so while earlier in this review I said I really liked America’s character, she made me so mad near the end of the book. But again, it was because I was rooting for Maxon so hard that it infuriated me when America yet again fell into Aspens stupid trap. I get that she wanted to believe that he still loved her. I get that she was hurt by him and that was why she forgave him so easily. Because even though he hurt her she still loved him. Or at least wanted to believe that she still did.
That is really all I have to say about this book in the spoilery section without just ranting for hours.
But seriously, Maxon and America’s ‘friendship’ had me like this the ENTIRE TIME:
*END OF SUPER SPOILERY SECTION OF THIS REVIEW. THOSE OF YOU WHO STILL HAVE NOT READ THIS AMAZING BOOK CAN READ EVERYTHING PAST THIS POINT UNLESS OTHERWISE SPECIFIED. END OF SPOILERS END OF SPOILERS.*
Thank you for reading this book review! And thank you to Kiera Cass for writing such a wonderful book and sharing this amazing story.
For those of you who HAVE read this book: Are you on Team Maxon or Team Aspen? (If you are the latter, what is wrong with you?) Did you like America Singer or not? What did you think about this book? Have you read The Elite yet? No spoilers, but did you like it? Tell me in the comments!
Add this book on Goodreads!: The Selection by Kiera Cass
My overall rating: