Debbie's World of Books
My book reviews, book news & random rants

The Selection by Kiera Cass

March 26th, 2012 by Debbie's World of Books

The Selection by Kiera Cass

Source: Borrowed from a friend

Publication date: April 24, 2012

Publisher: HarperTeen

Series: Book #1 in The Selection series

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars

Summary from Goodreads.com: 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.

If you have been following me for awhile you know I’m a sucker for a pretty cover and sometimes I let a cover overly influence what I pick up to read.  The cover of The Selection was what first caught my eye but after reading the synopsis I waffled over whether or not it would be something I would enjoy.  I love reality tv but am not a huge fan of The Bachelor or The Bachelorette which is pretty much what this book sounded like with the added twist of taking place in a world that is divided up into a caste system.  I did add it to my TBR list on Goodreads but then stopped paying much attention to the gossip going on about it on Twitter.  When I saw that a friend of mine had received this book for review I felt that was a sign that I should at least give it a try.  I was surprised by just how much I loved it!  Just a warning, I went in expecting it to be somewhat campy and filled with cat-fights which it was (I mean can you really expect to put 35 girls in one house, even if it’s a palace, while competing for the hand of the prince and not expect cat-fights?).

Aimee Teegarden to play America Singer

Aimee Teegarden has been cast to play America Singer in the CW series based off of The Selection (photo from Hollywood Crush)

America was an interesting character and once I moved past her name which I thought was a bit over the top I actually really enjoyed her quirkiness.  She was realistically naive to think that love can overcome any obstacle like marrying down in a strict caste system and somehow that love carrying a family through hard times without food or money.  Once she enters the palace and learns Maxon’s true character I could sympathize with her struggle in dealing with what she believed was the betrayal of the guy she loved, the attraction she feels towards Maxon and the confusion of trying to navigate life with a group of people who are mostly several levels above her in social status.

Ethan Peck as Prince Maxon

Ethan Peck has been cast to play Prince Maxon in the CW series. (Photo from Sodahead.com)

I absolutely love Maxon!  Yes, his character is predictable in that he turns out to be completely different from the stiff, aloof and snob that America goes into the competition expecting but I think that’s only to be expected in this type of story.  His interactions with America were hilarious at times and I found his bewilderment in dealing with all of these teenage girls endearing.  I mean come on, the poor guy has no sisters, no experience dating, hasn’t even had his first kiss yet so how can you not sympathize with him for going to the opposite extreme of having 35 girls competing to be his future wife.

My favorite part was watching the relationship between the two evolve.  Though most of the story is predictable I did like that America doesn’t immediately fall for Maxon and then partakes into the self flagellation over liking a guy who she thought was such a jerk, yadda, yadda, yadda.  Yes, we all know it’s going to happen but she doesn’t race from distate to love instantly.  We get to see how the camaraderie develops between Maxon and America and then understand why America starts falling for him.

William Moseley cast to play Aspen

William Moseley has been cast as Aspen in the CW series. (Photo from Hollywood Crush)

I hate to say it (especially since I am adoring William Moseley right now) but I couldn’t really bring myself to like him all that much.  I really felt like his attraction to America was more physical.  They were pretty much making out every moment we see the two of them together or him bemoaning how he could never provide enough for a family or how wrong it is that he can only pay a penny for America to sing to him.  Yes, he is a good son and good brother but other than that there really wasn’t much to him.  Maybe once we see more of him in the sequel he will grow on me but for now I am totally on Team Maxon.

The ending does leave us on somewhat of a cliffhanger and I can’t wait for the next book.

ETA: After finishing the book I was surprised to see one of my favorite bloggers give this book such a low rating.  I was curious if others had the same reaction because she mentions one problem was she read the promo of the book as “Bachelor meets Hunger Games” which having finished the book I don’t get at all.  It’s definitely The Bachelor but I don’t see any similarity to The Hunger Games.  To see what others thought I had to go check out the reviews on Goodreads and I was shocked not by the widely varying opinions about the book but over the drama that apparently went on over the ratings of this book.  There was one review that gave the book 1 star and while I loved it I thought she wrote a great review explaining the issues she had with the book.  Cass took offense to this review as did her agent and unfortunately they chose to have a very unprofessional conversation about this review over Twitter of all places.  First off, authors need to realize not every reader is going to love their book and they shouldn’t take it personally but I found her agent to be even worse.  I can understand an author who feels hurt after putting so much blood, sweat and tears into a work but I would think it’s part of the agent’s job to put things into perspective and help their client avoid these types of remarks.  Instead Cass’s agent stirs the pot and encourages behavior that I don’t feel comfortable condoning.  I find it sad that this kind of drama had to take place over a book I really enjoyed and that a reviewer was treated so poorly for offering her honest opinion about a book.

Posted in 4 Star Books, Books, Dystopia, Young Adult

3 Responses

  1. Page (@onebooktime)

    I really enjoyed this book too. I’m glad I read about the review controversy after I read the book, because I’m sure it would have affected my enjoyment of it. I wasn’t sure if I should add a disclaimer like yours or not.
    I didn’t know it had already been picked up by CW and casted. Interesting!

  2. Emily's Reading Room

    A clarification. I was initially thrown off by the comparison to The Hunger Games. But, my unease with the book lies deeper than that. I am really drawn to novels that are character driven, and I didn’t really like America, Maxon, or Ash all that much. Also, the writing wasn’t there for me. Lines like this one, referring to having her nails done, “The one girl picked a nice neutral shade, so it wasn’t too bad.” It just felt like a first draft. Anyway, I know a lot of people liked it, but I was disappointed.

  3. Ree Anderson

    I wanted to like this book SO MUCH! I, too, found issue with “The Bachelor meets The Hunger Games” because while I can see The Bachelor all over it, comparing this book to The Hunger Games is just…well, it doesn’t work. They’re not similar in any way, shape, or form except that The Selection calls itself dystopian.

    But, yeah…I wanted to love it. The premise seemed so incredibly promising and the world had the potential to be really interesting. It just didn’t deliver, for me.

    (Still think the cover is gorgeous – even if it does look like she’s doing a pit-check!) 😉

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