by Kiera Cass
Publication Date: April 24th 2012
For thirty-five girl, 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.The Selection was probably one of the most hyped up books of the summer. There was that whole crazy Goodreads "scandal", the CW picked it up for a TV series, and then it seemed like everyone who read it either loved it or hated it. I'm gonna start out by saying that I was psyched to read this book. SO psyched. Why? Because it sounded like just the kind of fodder that would entertain me to no end! I figured that as long as I didn't take The Selection seriously I would be able to enjoy it for what it is: the bubblegum pop of the YA fiction world. I wasn't expecting it to be a masterpiece and I certainly wasn't expecting to love it. I was just expecting a good laugh. And you know what? The Selection delivered.
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 with all the plans she's made herself - and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to future she never imagined.
Everyone has been heralding The Selection as a sort of "The Bachelor meets The Hunger Games" story. The Hunger Games comparison is pretty ridiculous considering that book is all about fighting for survival and the only fighting in The Selection involves girls ripping each others dresses but whatever gets the book to sell right? The only real similarities it has to THG is the fact that it's a dystopian (albiet a much less dreary one) and the fact that America gets plucked from obscurity to compete in a contest. Now the comparisons to The Bachelor? Totally warranted. Though it's not similar enough to The Bachelor to be as creepy as The Bachelor it definitely has that same pseudo love feeling to it (not that I watch the Bachelor or anything....) and there's definitely some of the cattiness. However Prince Maxon is way nicer and less of a douche then any of those guys on the actual Bachelor show. Or at least I imagine he is seeing as I don't watch the show and all. :P
Which brings me to the characters. Let me tell you there is nothing special about these characters whatsoever. America is about as boring a protagonist as you can get. She is literally about as exciting as plain toast. On top of that she has that super annoying "I'm nothing special, I'm not beautiful, why does everyone think I'm special and beautiful?" mentality about her. And the worst part? There really is nothing special about her. As a reader I had to suspend disbelief in order to buy the fact that she would have two guys vying for her because she was just SO boring. It made no sense. I guess she really must be beautiful because it couldn't have been her non-existent sparkling personality winning them over. Either that or she has the singing voice of a siren and that's what hooks them.... As for the guy characters Prince Maxon was the stereotypical nice guy who also happened to be pretty naive. Overall I liked him the best because he was the most normal of the bunch. But the worst character by far? Aspen. Oh gosh I HATED Aspen. I know a lot of girls seem to be getting their panties in a bunch over Aspen but this guy had some serious control issues. He was totally emotionally abusive and I hated the fact that it was painted like he was fine. Uhhh no it is not fine for you to dump your secret girlfriend over a celebratory dinner and then act like everything is fine and dandy later. NO. Everything is not fine jerkwad! And did I mention he's jealous of Prince Maxon and yet he was the one that convinced America to enter The Selection in the first place? Yep. TOTAL JERK.
The story itself was just what I expected it to be: A fluffy bacheloresque fairytale painted like a dystopian. Honestly I ended up enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would. I think that can mostly be attributed to the fact that my expectations were low in the first place, but it did exceed them. Kiera Casses writing is straight forward to the point of being a bit bland at times (spice things up girl! That's what Thesauruses are for.) but I'll admit that the book did hook me till the end. In fact I might even suffer through the next few installments just to find out what happens. I have a feeling that Kiera Cass might have some sort of revolution craziness hidden up her sleeve. The story has potential to go a lot of different ways and I'm curious to see what happens and by see what happens I mean America dumping Aspen on his dumb ass and then Prince Maxon escaping the shackles of his noble life to run wild and free with a girl truly worthy of his kindness and by a "girl truly worthy of kindness" I mean a girl that is NOT AMERICA. I'm sure the ending will be nothing like that but a girl can hope right? :P
Overall The Selection was not nearly as painful a reading experience as I thought it would be. Certain aspects of it were painful *cough* ASPEN IS A JERKWAD! *cough* and the writing could have been less choppy but I enjoyed it. I just hope the sequels will have less cliches and more cat fights because let's be real if you're gonna write a YA version of The Bachelor it's gotta have killer cat fights. Ripping a dress is the least a bitch can do.
I give The Selection 3 out of 5 ice cream cones.