Monday, July 17, 2017

Review: The Selection by Kiera Cass


Title: The Selection
Series: The Selection #1
Author: Kiera Cass
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: April 24, 2012
Format: E-Book

Page Count: 336

Rating: 

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. (taken from goodreads.com)


“Ah yes, the man or the crown. I'm afraid some can't tell the difference.” 

My verdict on this Hunger Games/The Bachelor mashup is... meh.

And that truly is what The Selection is: a compilation of a romantic reality show and the political, dystopian lottery installed by a controlling government. It's like someone took a less impressive version of Katniss and her world, then added a bunch of fancy dresses, flirting, and makeup. To be fair, I know that a lot of people really loved this series, and it wasn't all bad. I've seen many reviewers refer to Cass' novel as a guilty pleasure or a train wreck (you can't look away, even though it's terrible at points).

From the first chapter onward, the presence of a love triangle is clearly set up. Aspen is basically Gale (strong, serious, takes care of his loved ones despite being extremely poor). I immediately prepared myself for the inevitable battle between a dark-headed survivor and a blonde-headed sweet prince. Yawn. The Hunger Games references don't stop there. So many characters and plot occurrences had me rolling my eyes at Cass' lack of originality. America even has a songbird necklace that reminds her of home... shocking. There are so many better dystopian novels out there, and I feel like Cass was just piggybacking on their success and adding a sprinkle of girly fashion and romance.

America was just terrible. I'm sorry, but I truly couldn't stand her. She's that girl who practically shouts to the world "I AM SPECIAL AND DIFFERENT." Obviously, she has no interest in being a princess or wearing make up because she's better than that, and without even trying, she's more lovable than any of the other girls. She's a special YA snowflake if I ever saw one, and I was annoyed by her character through most of the novel.

Plus, her emotions towards both Maxon and Aspen were absurd. Half of the time, she's completely devoted to her first love, and the other half, she seems to have forgotten him entirely. Her flip-floppy feelings made an already stupid love triangle even more unenjoyable. Not to mention that both Aspen and Maxon are less than interesting.

Okay, here's the thing: I've already picked up the second novel, and I'm going to give it a shot. Weird, right, since I obviously don't have many good things to say about The Selection? The thing is, I have hope. Perhaps the second book will break away from the cliché dystopian story Cass has created, and (fingers crossed) America might grow into a less annoying character.