by Kiera Cass
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!