Wendy Darling's Reviews > The Selection

The Selection by Kiera Cass
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
2745288
Reaction before reading this book: I know I may be a sucker for falling for this cover, but look at it! I totally want to go to that party.

Reaction after reading this book: I no longer want to go to this party.

Full disclosure: I did not read this entire book. I took notes for the first 88 pages, read to page 168, and then skimmed the rest. I think reading more than half the book qualifies as giving it a fair shot.

The Selection arrives with a gorgeous cover and interesting premise. What if a lottery allowed 35 teenage girls to compete for the hand of a handsome prince? I thought this might be a fun and fluffy read, so I pushed aside my initial misgivings about the names and pounced on the chance to read the ARC. Turns out, sometimes your gut is just trying to do its job, as I kept struggling with the book until I finally admitted that I didn't find a single aspect of this story that I enjoyed. Somehow I missed the early blurb that described this novel as a mash-up between the The Bachelor and The Hunger Games, which is unfortunate because the comparison to the television show is pretty spot-on. Mentioning it in the same breath as The Hunger Games is a travesty, however, since this book barely qualifies as a dystopian novel--and certainly the quality of the story, characters, themes, and writing don't come even close to comparing.

Here are some facts which may help you decide whether you want to read this book:

Character Names: Our main character's name is America Singer. Guess what she does. Her boyfriend's name is Aspen. Prince Charming's name is Prince Maxon Schreave, who must marry a "True Daughter of Iléa." Other names include Queen Amberly, King Clarkson, Tiny, Kriss, Marlee, Bariel, Gavril, Kamber, and Sosie.

Attempts to Make This Novel Dystopian: Sketchy caste system. Talk of provinces. Girls are required to wait until marriage to have sex. Infrastructure Committees. Occasional mentions of hunger and lack of makeup.

Writing: Very obvious protestations that are easily seen through. Juvenile dialogue. A lot of whispering to convey dramatic statements. A plethora of exclamation points. (view spoiler)

Bachelor-like Elements: Contestants vying for a "perfect" guy. Appearance fees. Contracts. Gossiping. Sabotage. Tears. Eliminations. Television specials. Icky elements. (view spoiler) But no limos and no rose ceremonies! Booo.

Most Annoying Element of All: The story ends on a cliffhanger, as if there was so much going on in this one book, it could not be contained in a single volume.

************************************************************

Random Quotes:

Why did Mom have to push me so much? Wasn't she happy? Didn't she love Dad? Why wasn't this good enough for her?

"Please don't call me gorgeous. First my mom, then May, now you. It's getting on my nerves." By the way Aspen was looking at me, I could tell I wasn't helping my "I'm not pretty" case. He smiled.

Aspen was dressed in white. He looked angelic.

That was it. I slapped him. "You idiot!" I whisper-yelled at him. "I hate him! I loved you! I wanted you; all I ever wanted was you!"

"If you don't want me to be in love with you, you're going to have to stop looking so lovely."

************************************************************

So. Whether you'll enjoy this book depends on whether you find any of the above details appealing. If, like me, they make you want to pull out your hair, it may be best to either try this one out at the library first or just admire the pretty cover design from a safe distance.

Putting aside the fact that this probably would have worked better as a straightforward fairy tale without the pseudo-dystopian details, as well as the annoying focus on boys boys boys being the be-all and end-all of this book, the whole thing wasn't really a very enjoyable reading experience to me, not even as mindless entertainment. Every scene, every character, and every plot development was predictable and worse yet, a cliché, and the dialogue and machinations felt painfully juvenile throughout the entire story. I almost wish this were a middle grade novel, except that there are a few too many make out scenes for that. Plus I don't think I would have enjoyed this even at the age of 8.

As always, these kinds of books are just a matter of taste. All in all, I really don't have violent feelings about The Selection the way I do with such books as The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer or Elizabeth Miles' Fury, but I'm afraid I can't say that I found very much about it that was redeeming, either.

This review also appears in The Midnight Garden.

After less than 24 hours of this review being live: Some pretty horrible developments occurred. Please check message #239 on this post if you're interested. And yes, this is the review that was featured the Publishers Weekly article Should Authors and Agents Weigh In on Citizen Reviews?

Those interested in how this one review still continues to affect me 2 years after posting it should check out the links in message #239 as well. This review has not been altered at all since its publication, with the exception of the addendum, and to delete a quote that was misread.


2967 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Selection.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

01/06/2012 page 25
8.0% "I can already tell that it's going to take heroic effort on my part to finish this book." 34 comments
01/12/2012 page 168
51.0% "I think it's time to admit this just isn't gonna happen." 14 comments

Comments (showing 1,401-1,450 of 1,839) (1839 new)


message 1401: by Rhea (new)

Rhea Wow author totally doesn't deserve to be published. The whole point of publishing is wanting to write a book and getting BETTER AT IT. She obviously can't take constructive criticism.


message 1402: by Alex (new)

Alex I'm very late to the party on this one - but since we are new friends I just caught up on this. I just wanted to show my support for you!


Michaela I absolutely loved this book, but hearing about all this agent/author controversy makes me feel a little sick for liking the book. Nobody should be treated like this. I personally love reading negative reviews for books I am crazy about. Other opinions are always interesting. I have a crazy dream of being an author, and even if it never happened I know I would never behave this way towards criticism if it did. In fact, I would read more negative than positive reviews so I could know exactly where my weakest places were so I could improve. I posted my own review, and it was positive towards the book, but I editted the end to address this because if she is only reads positive reviews maybe she will happen upon mine someday. She should know that even though I loved this book, and even want to read her other published book, I do not like her behavior. AT ALL.


message 1404: by Jessi (new)

Jessi Thanks for this review! Saw the giveaway listing and thought the cover was gorgeous but didn't like the write up. Thought I'd check the reviews to see what the book was like. Glad I did!


message 1405: by Alaa (new) - rated it 1 star

Alaa okay
thank god i read ur commentss... cause i was going to read this bookkk...
dont judge me i see a cover.. and if i like it i read it... but it doesnt always end up being a good storyy lol....


message 1406: by Sharon (new) - added it

Sharon I had this on my ban list BUT your review makes me want to read it.


The Holy Terror Michaela wrote: "I absolutely loved this book, but hearing about all this agent/author controversy makes me feel a little sick for liking the book."

Don't feel bad for liking this book, it's not your fault they acted this way. There have been so many authors spiraling out of control lately that it's gotten difficult to keep track.

I've recently had two authors whom I would have read their books (and most likely enjoyed them) if they hadn't said comments that rubbed me the wrong way. I honestly wish I didn't even know about what they said, (and also that they hadn't said it but oh well), so I envy you for being in the dark about all of this and enjoying the book.

Side note: I can't believe this review is only 8 likes away from 1000. Craziness.


message 1408: by Jim (new) - added it

Jim The Holy Terror wrote: "Side note: I can't believe this review is only 8 likes away from 1000. Craziness. "

I am so glad you noticed that, THT! Looks like the countdown is at 7 now...:)


message 1409: by D.G. (last edited Apr 24, 2012 01:07PM) (new)

D.G. So this is how this book is being marketed (not an actual banner...just the image.)



I read Wendy's review a while back but I wonder if there was any violence in this society. Just having a "bad" government doesn't make a book like THG.


message 1410: by Skittles (new) - rated it 1 star

Skittles D.G. ~Shameless Hussy~ wrote: "So this is how this book is being marketed (not an actual banner...just the image.)



I read Wendy's review a while back but I wonder if there was any violence in this society. Just having a "bad"..."


Best banner image for this ever! =)


Travelling Sunny 1. BEAUTIFUL cover = Added to TBR.
2. Brand, spanking new "follower" reads Disney character's review = Deleted from TBR.

1 above + 2 above = clicking the like button to get it that much closer to 1000.


message 1412: by [deleted user] (new)

Here to say.....I picked up this book today and I was disappointed in the writing style and her acknowledgements seemed a little hokey and annoying to me. I'm sorry but how many times can you say "for reals" "for realszies" without sounding 12? I can't say, though, that I am surprised.


message 1413: by Skittles (new) - rated it 1 star

Skittles Sunny wrote: "1. BEAUTIFUL cover = Added to TBR.
2. Brand, spanking new "follower" reads Disney character's review = Deleted from TBR.

1 above + 2 above = clicking the like button to get it that much closer to ..."


Yay only 6 more to go now!


message 1414: by Skittles (new) - rated it 1 star

Skittles Rachel wrote: "Here to say.....I picked up this book today and I was disappointed in the writing style and her acknowledgements seemed a little hokey and annoying to me. I'm sorry but how many times can you say "..."

I'm so glad the ARC I read didn't have the acknowledgements in it. Not after reading your comment.


message 1415: by Experiment BL626 (new)

Experiment BL626 Skyla (Happy Go Lucky and Lost in Books) wrote: "I'm so glad the ARC I read didn't have the acknowledgements in it. Not after reading your comment."

For realszies, yo. =D


message 1416: by [deleted user] (new)

Skyla (Happy Go Lucky and Lost in Books) wrote: "Rachel wrote: "Here to say.....I picked up this book today and I was disappointed in the writing style and her acknowledgements seemed a little hokey and annoying to me. I'm sorry but how many time..."

(ex- to her editor) "You're amazing. For realsies."

Me: "..........Really."


message 1417: by Skittles (new) - rated it 1 star

Skittles @ Experiment. LOl

@ Rachel. Yeah that would probably be what I would be thinking too. That or WTF how old is this woman?


message 1418: by Jim (new) - added it

Jim Skyla (Happy Go Lucky and Lost in Books) wrote: "Yay only 6 more to go now! "

The magic number is now 5. :)


message 1419: by Skittles (last edited Apr 24, 2012 02:55PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Skittles Jim wrote: "Skyla (Happy Go Lucky and Lost in Books) wrote: "Yay only 6 more to go now! "

The magic number is now 5. :)"


Five people please read this and like it. I want to see the number 1000! I've never seen a review with as many likes as this, I'm really excited to see it reach 1000. My review of this book is at 36 likes. That's the most likes I have ever gotten =)

I want Wendy to get to 1000. Come on people.


Travelling Sunny It will not let me like it again. So, five NEW people, please like Skyla's posting... LOL!


message 1421: by Skittles (new) - rated it 1 star

Skittles Four more people! Only 4 more to get it to 1000!


message 1422: by Inge (new) - added it

Inge Skyla (Happy Go Lucky and Lost in Books) wrote: "Four more people! Only 4 more to get it to 1000!"

3 ;o)


message 1423: by Experiment BL626 (new)

Experiment BL626 Countdown: 2!


message 1424: by Jim (new) - added it

Jim 2!


The Holy Terror Yay! 1000!


message 1427: by Soumi (new) - rated it 1 star

Soumi D.G. ~Shameless Hussy~ wrote: "So this is how this book is being marketed (not an actual banner...just the image.)



I read Wendy's review a while back but I wonder if there was any violence in this society. Just having a "bad"..."

EWwww..I'm gonna puke


message 1428: by Soumi (last edited Apr 24, 2012 04:43PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Soumi YAY..already 1000


message 1429: by Jim (new) - added it

Jim YAY!!!


message 1430: by Sommer (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sommer um no halfway through is not giving it a fair shot


message 1431: by Zahara (new)

Zahara Sommer wrote: "um no halfway through is not giving it a fair shot"

I've quit reading books after the first few pages so halfway seems more than fair.


message 1432: by Thalia (new) - added it

Thalia Sommer wrote: "um no halfway through is not giving it a fair shot"

She skimmed the last half. It's not like she didn't read it entirely.


Howdy YAL Sommer wrote: "um no halfway through is not giving it a fair shot"

I think reading it halfway is decent enough especially since Wendy skimmed through the rest. I like the fact that her review told us why she didn't finish it. That's what a good review is to me.


Wendy Darling As you all know, I have stopped commenting on this thread except very occasionally to thank people for their support, because I think I've said, over and over, everything that I care to say about the subject. I think the facts of the matter are perfectly clear to anyone who cares to read what I wrote objectively and to do 5 minutes of research. And I also think the review is strong enough to stand on its own merits.

Again, I'm extremely grateful for the friends who have spoken up and the new friends I've made because of this unpleasant situation. For those who have left sympathetic messages and expressions of solidarity, I sincerely appreciate your taking the time to do so. I read every single comment and truly do appreciate every kind note.

As for Miss Sommer, over 1000 people disagree with her, so anyone dropping by at this point can take that for what it's worth. But I think this screeshot says it all, don't you?



Whether this is someone who is clueless about social media, an "innocent" troll, or yet another tiresome sock puppet account, it really doesn't matter. She's been blocked from future activity this thread and can just go play in her own sandbox.


message 1435: by Thalia (new) - added it

Thalia Thought the exact same thing when I looked up her profile. Read one book and is just liking positive reviews? Joined this year, probably this very day?

That is ridiculous.


message 1436: by [deleted user] (new)

I just heard about this incident. If I had known, I wouldn't have bought the book. I like giving new authors a fair chance, and I did like the book, but I don't think I like this author for what she and her agent did. It was completely unprofessional and amounts to bullying in my opinion. Sorry for that! :(


Julianna Helms I hate to revive old threads, but Wendy: Just as a FYI, Kiera Cass is now a New York Times Bestselling Author.


message 1438: by Jill (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jill Actually, they don't have to sign the thing that they have to allow the Prince to do everything. It was just said to them as a form os simple advice :)


Wendy Darling Thanks Thalia and Monika.

Juli and Jill, I REALLY don't care.


message 1440: by ann (new) - added it

ann This is so disappointing. Not about the author, but yeah that's disappointing too. I've read so many positive reviews about this in blogs I'm following. If what you and all those negative reviews here in GR say are true, then I'll start praying for those bloggers' minds.


Wendy Darling Well, there's clearly a market for this book, Annerooo. But it's certainly not me. I love fun and fluffy books, but this one had absolutely nothing in it that interested me.

But I will say that I think if people read the excerpts included in this review and see nothing wrong with content or style, they're probably the type of readers who will enjoy this. That is exactly what I said months ago when I posted this review, and nothing at all has changed about that.


Julianna Helms Wendy Darling wrote: "Thanks Thalia and Monika.

Juli and Jill, I REALLY don't care."


Sorry Wends! I only intended to share that as a show of my frustration, but ah, who cares. :}


Howdy YAL Wendy, I agree. I love fluffy books. I get teased for liking fluffy books, but I didn't see this book as being fluffy. Instead....I don't know how I would describe it: bland, boring, odd...I just can't pinpoint the right word to describe it.

Like you, I think there will be some people who will enjoy this book. I think part of the reason why I couldn't enjoy it was because I over analyzed it. Parts that offended me, might not bother a reader who is need of a quick read. Be that as it may, I can't recommend it to anyone. Let alone to any of my friends who have younger siblings who like to read YA. While there's nothing explicit in the novel, I really had issues with how women were treated in the novel in general (the whole virginity laws really got to me) and I really wouldn't want an impressionable reader to get the wrong idea.


Wendy Darling No, I'M sorry, Juli. I am just...extremely sensitive about this review and I am sick to death of this book. It's my own fault because I never updated my review to ask people not to post comments that are not about the book itself or the incident, I just kept putting that in the comments instead--but I've done so now. I literally still cringe whenever I get a notification about this review, so when I find out it's something about the stupid tv show or whatever, it becomes really overwhelming and frustrating. I'm normally very chatty and will talk to anyone about anything, but in this particular case, no thank you. People can talk about that sort of thing elsewhere if they're interested, you know?

YAL, I completely agree with "bland and boring." I actually stopped analyzing it pretty early on after I figured out it wasn't going to be very good, but on top of being shallow and ridiculous, it wasn't even entertaining or fun. I actually worried a bit in the beginning about the "message" it was sending as well (I scribbled notes furiously over those contracts), but frankly this book is so lacking in subtext and will have so little impact on the way anyone thinks about anything real that I doubt we have any reason to be concerned.


message 1445: by ann (new) - added it

ann Those spoilers are horrible! Especially the second one. *gags* I never really understood why people like Bachelor. I only enjoy the show when Joel McHale makes fun of it in The Soup.


message 1446: by [deleted user] (new)

Wendy Darling wrote: "I am really freaking tired of authors and friends of authors and employers of authors behaving badly. STOP TROLLING REVIEWS OF YOUR BOOKS. You are doing more damage to your reputation than I ever c..."

You guys(Kiera Cass & agent) should really apologize!!! I thought the book was good, but the fact you guys critized someone who doesn't like it is beyond rude. There are people who don't like you-GET OVER IT!!!! If you guys really took the time to apologize, maybe people will actually start giving your book another chance.


message 1447: by Cass (new) - rated it 2 stars

Cass [quote]Most Annoying Element of All: The story ends on a cliffhanger, as if there was so much going on in this one book, it could not be contained in a single volume.[/quote]

I agree!!


message 1448: by Heather (new) - rated it 5 stars

Heather Windham Read this book in 24 hrs, loved it!


message 1449: by Wendy Darling (last edited May 06, 2012 08:29PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Wendy Darling Annerooo, I confess I've seen a couple of early season of The Bachelor. That was a lot more entertaining than this book, IMO.

Primniss, for the record, the author and agent did offer apologies of sorts. Kiera Cass said she felt someone should apologize, so she was doing so, which I felt was pretty insincere. The agent then apologized, one day before a Publishers Weekly story broke about this incident. So you can take that timing for what it's worth.

Cass, I guess everything has to be drawn out into a trilogy these days, you know?

Heather, I've never spoken to you before and I don't mean to be rude, but this particular review space is really not the place to squee over this book. I am obviously not a fan, and some pretty horrible things happened after I posted this review, so I don't have much of a sense of humor about it. If you're such a big fan of the book, I'd recommend writing a review of your own.


message 1450: by Heather (new) - rated it 5 stars

Heather Windham Wendy Darling wrote: "Annerooo, I confess I've seen a couple of early season of The Bachelor. That was a lot more entertaining than this book, IMO.

Primniss, for the record, the author and agent did offer apologies of ..."


Sorry I thought I was writing just a review and didn't mean to make a comment under your review.


back to top