Title: The Selection
Author: Kiera Cass
Series: The Selection Series
Published: April 24th, 2012
Rating: ★★★★☆ (4 out of 5)The summary of The Selection from Goodreads:
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 a palace and compete for the heart of 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.
I was really wary of reading The Selection. To me, it sounded like a fictionalized Bachelor, but with royalty. I can count on one hand the number of episodes of The Bachelor (or Bachelorette or any of those shows) I’ve watched on one hand. They just aren’t my thing. I end up annoyed more than swept up in romance. However, I was in the mood for a story that was just going to make me happy, and I figured a story centered around the search for a wife would lend itself to that.
What I Liked:
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I did not expect to enjoy it as much as I did. It certainly had enough of the romance, but there’s a hint of something deeper, some rebel action, that could grow into something interesting.
I liked America. She’s not my favorite book heroine, but I did like her. She’s confident in herself, even when faced with 34 other girls who she views as prettier and better for the role of princess. She understands where her strengths are and is pretty comfortable in them. That’s not to say she has no insecurities, but rather she understands that she has something to offer that other girls don’t. She didn’t try to overcompensate or fade away. She just wanted to enjoy her time in the Selection while she could.
As for the two love interests…I didn’t really feel a connection with either. Aspen is sweet, yes, but he’s clearly not confident enough to view himself as equal to America. He wants to care for her and it hurts him when she tries to care for him. It bothered me a little that his pride was so wounded by that. As for Maxon, he’s just a little stiff. I’m sure part of that has to do with his role as prince, but I didn’t really feel like we got to see him. We got to see Prince Maxon, but not the person of Maxon.
The story has some promise. The reality show romance aspect of it was a little better than I expected, and I’m glad it didn’t turn into catfights. There are some moments of fighting, but America is still able to find friends within the competition. She’s able to see more of the world than she did from her town and her caste. I was happy for that. There is some outside action by way of rebel attacks. I hope these become a little more important because I felt they added some more interest and depth to the overall storyline.
What I Didn’t Like:
This book fitted the purpose I had when I read it. It gave me little heart flutters at times and was just a nice “cool down” read after finishing the Grisha series. But I felt like it just could have been more. It felt a little flat and underdeveloped.
We get to see who America is, but the majority of the other girls in the Selection are broken down into what they look like and the caste they’re from. Granted, there were 34 girls and we couldn’t really take the time to know all of them. But they just felt like caricatures instead of characters. The same with Aspen and Maxon. I just don’t feel like I know them.
If you’re looking for a book that’s going to make you feel a little happy, this would work. If you’re a fan of the Bachelor TV shows, you’d probably enjoy this book.