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. – Goodreads
The Selection by Kiera Cass is many things, but one thing it is not is a dystopian novel. Labeling it as such only creates high expectations about the world building and I felt that The Selection’s attempt of a controlled society was very flimsy. Yes, there was a caste system, rules for the country’s citizens, and — gasp! — rebel groups, but they all came across as superficially inserted into the story; they served no purpose except for proving that dystopian is the thing to do in the YA market at the moment. Every time there was a mention of the different castes, or a “threat” from the rebels, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes because it lacked so much depth and Kiera Cass did not explore any themes with her world.
So what IS The Selection? I thought it was a light read that heavily focused on the competition of 35 girls vying for the affection of Prince Maxon. It had the typical mean girls, pretty dresses, makeovers, and gossip. I wish more time had been spent developing the girls, and perhaps their provinces at the same time to flesh out the world of Illéa, but it was still easy to get swept into their drama.
As far as characters go, I thought America was a little bland. Kiera Cass attempted to make her a strong lead, but I didn’t really get that from her character. Still, she did have her likable moments and I can appreciate the fact that she’s trying to figure things out for herself. For the love interests, Prince Maxon easily wins as my favorite. Aspen was whiny, insecure, and a bit of a jerk, so no thanks! Maxon had his faults, but he came across as a much more open minded, sweet guy. Plus, he’s a prince and who doesn’t love a prince?! The rest of the characters were either not developed enough for me to have an opinion or, in the case of America’s maids and some of the other contestants, they sort of blended together.
The Selection is the first in a series and Kiera Cass definitely left me hanging. This is probably one of the worst cliffhangers in recent memory and it’s not because I’m anxious to find out what’s next; I simply think The Selection had a complete non-ending. What was that?! As it is, I’m not sure how this particular story will be expanded into multiple books without feeling dragged out, but I guess we’ll see!
Though I obviously thought there were some shaky aspects to The Selection, I did enjoy it quite a bit. I was into all the drama of the competition and America’s growing friendship with Maxon was a highlight. The ending was aggravating, but I’m curious to see how Kiera Cass will continue on with the story. I’ll definitely get around to reading the next book.
On a side note, who else is planning on tuning in for the CW show? I fail at watching television, but I want to see how this translates on screen so I will tune in for at least the pilot if gets picked up!
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