The Selection

Posted May 5, 2012 by Tara in Review /// 25 Comments

So pretty. But I don't think America Singer would have stood seductively like that in the novel.

The Selection
by Kiera Cass
Harper Teen
Purchased from the Nook store
[#38  in my 75 book challenge]

Here’s how I would describe the story: The Hunger Games meets The Bachelorette. You have a dystopian society (Illea) with a really strict caste system. Royalty are Ones, on down through the homeless who are Eights. When it is time for Prince Maxon to marry, one girl from each of the thirty-five districts is selected from any caste system to compete for the prince’s hand in marriage. It’s televised, the girls live a lavish lifestyle in the palace, and there is no set time frame for the process — it can take weeks or years.

Our protagonist is America Singer, a Five from the district of Carolina. She’s in love with Aspen, a Six, but she’s convinced to enter the Selection anyway. She gets selected. Cue Cinderella moments: delicious food, instant status, beautiful dresses, maids, and (of course) a love triangle on the horizon.

If you read the reviews on Goodreads for this book, it is quite obvious that everyone either loved it or hated it. There was very little in-between. I happened to love it. I had no problem with the “borrowed” plots or less-than-stellar writing because I feel this one has potential as a trilogy. While the fancy-pants stuff takes center stage here, it is obvious that there is a lot more going on behind the scenes. There are political secrets and cover ups galore waiting to be uncovered in the future novels. The pretty-pretty of The Selection is just a facade for the frightened monarchy. The second book in this trilogy will really tell us where it’s all going, because we don’t even really know yet.

The story is well-paced and kept my attention so I read it in two days. America is an okay protagonist. She grew on me. But I like the idea of her and Prince Maxon. Since we’ve got a true love triangle on our hands here, I stand firmly on Team Maxon. Both America and Maxon grow throughout the book, and I can’t wait to see what twists Cass will throw at us to shake things up in the following novels! I’m hoping to see America become a little more kick-ass and I have a lady in mind that I hope Aspen can fall for so he’s not sad about losing America.

The one thing you must know before reading this book is that IT DOES NOT END. It’s a trilogy, and the end is wide open. If this type of thing frustrates you, wait until all three are published and then read it. Personally, trilogies kind of drive me crazy, but I guess I’ll play the game. The waiting game. I’ll be watching the TV show on the CW based on this series while I wait.

FINAL GRADE:  B  I liked this book because I read it for fun and I read it as an independent work. Trying to hold it for a direct comparison to The Hunger Games will leave a reader very disappointed. It’s not in my Top Ten Favs of All Time, but I enjoyed the read and I’m glad I bought it. I will absolutely buy a copy for my media center because I know my students will LOVE it. Though sex and virginity are mentioned early in the novel, both the sex and violence are mearly mentioned, neither seen nor committed by the protagonist. I would also recommend it to my 20-something friends who like girly books (you know who you are!).

I also have to note that there was a lot of drama surrounding this book, the author, and negative reviewer on Goodreads in January, which has caused a lot of people to post negative reviews and refuse to read the book. I know very little about the drama, but I also don’t really care. Same goes for any other drama that has erupted in the book blogger world as of late. I prefer my drama in books, not in real life. I’m judging the book, not the author, when I write a review, positive or negative.

Lord knows I’d be in trouble if an author/agent/publisher/fellow blogger ever swooped in and started judging me based on my writing on this blog. Yikes. My stuff isn’t terrible, but it’s not exactly prime for publication. Y’all, writing for a living would be hard work!


Tara is a PhD student studying education. Her dissertation will be on digital book communities as public pedagogy (ask her about it!), though she often takes a break from all of that to read books about oppressive governments and sassy teenagers. In a former life, she was a middle school teacher and middle school librarian. In her future life, she's a professor of YA lit. In her free time, she drinks a lot of coffee while planning her next grand adventure (there's always something).

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25 responses to “The Selection

    • Miss Anderson

      It’s on my list! I know it has GLBT themes, so I’ve been wanting to read it for some time. We have it in our school library, so I might try to take it home to read before summer school!

  1. Kelly

    I’d never heard of this book until I read your review, now I’ll definitely be putting it on my to-read list x

  2. Couldn’t agree more about the Goodreads “scandal”. The author’s behavior does not alter the quality of the book, and that’s what the star ratings should indicate. It also bugged me that people gave Insurgent five stars months before it was even released.

    • Miss Anderson

      It always bugs me when people star books before they read them. Have they never been grossly disappointed by a book that was way overhyped? Because that would nip such behavior right in the bud.

    • Miss Anderson

      Thank you! It’s a labor of love, for sure. I appreciate you stopping by and leaving those kind words!

  3. This plot would always be great escape reading. Glad to know about this book. And I agree wholeheartedly with you about ignoring self-serving drama created by reviewers!

    • Miss Anderson

      Yes! Exactly! Even sassy feminists needs a little escape from time to time. I got to mentally live in a castle and wear sassy dresses in my imagination…totally worth it!

    • Miss Anderson

      I’ll basically read anything YA dystopian and love it. It’s like candy! But I do like that this one is a little different.

  4. Irene

    LOVED the book! The author (Kiera Cass) is also hilarious, and has the most adorable toddler ever. Go on her youtube page and you’ll see what I’m talking about. America is a likable character and the book was brought together perfectly. And, (Cue the meme) still a better love story than Twilight!

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