Wendy Darling's Reviews > The Selection

The Selection by Kiera Cass
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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.


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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 251-300 of 1,839) (1839 new)


HanaJoyful DONE! I would type more but I ran out of space...


message 252: by Sans (new) - added it

Sans The Holy Terror wrote: ""He smelled like his mother's homemade soup."

o_O"


That was my exact reaction to that quote as well.


message 253: by Mariya (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mariya I think all books need BOTH NEGATIVE AND POSITIVE REVIEWS. I mean just b/c someone didn't like your book, doesn't mean you have to get all like that! Just walk away and leave it alone. jeeeeshh. That kinda of behavior I totally hate!


Julianna Helms The Holy Terror wrote: "I can't believe they've said this about you, of all people."

Right?! Why Wendy? Why Wendy?


message 255: by HanaJoyful (last edited Jan 13, 2012 10:36PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

HanaJoyful "@ElanaRoth Are you kidding me? How old are you, may I ask? Because from what I gathered, you seem like a five year old. " That what I might tweet to this... This... *tries not to stoop to their level*


message 256: by Mariya (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mariya @Hana: you totally should!


HanaJoyful Mariya wrote: "@Hana: you totally should!"

LOL, and done!


message 258: by Mariya (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mariya LOL


message 259: by Sans (last edited Jan 13, 2012 10:40PM) (new) - added it

Sans Wendy Darling wrote: "This behavior is absolutely inexcusable. If authors want to take advantage of marketing tools like GoodReads and blogs and Twitter, they'd better smarten up pretty damned fast about etiquette and p..."

Author asshattery knows no bounds it seems. *hugs Wendy*


message 260: by Wendy Darling (last edited Jan 13, 2012 10:46PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Wendy Darling I can't even tell you guys how much effort I put into writing and editing a negative review, way more so than a positive one. What's hilarious to me is that if they think THIS is harsh, just wait until more people get ahold of this book. Some people will like it, but a lot of them will rip it to shreds.

And I know, THT. Anyone doing a simple amount of research would see that I champion a ton of books and authors that I believe in, which, I don't know, might be partly why some people might weigh my opinion on 1 star review. But some people are only interested in what concerns them directly anyway.

Thanks for commenting on my blog, Stephanie--and I appreciate the support, Mariya, Sharon, Hana, Chelsea, Juli, and Sans. I'm so annoyed right now I can't see straight. My review wasn't personal, but these antagonistic blog comments and public name-calling certainly were meant to be.

This kind of behavior really, really must stop. I'm so sick of it. Apparently people have learned nothing from what's happened this month.


Julianna Helms Elana Roth is Kiera's agent...

Well that makes sense.


Wendy Darling Julianna wrote: "Elana Roth is Kiera's agent...

Well that makes sense."


Yeah, sorry, I should have made that clear.


message 263: by Erika (new)

Erika :/ I hate it when authors do that. instead of taking low ratings as constructive criticism to improve on next books they just complain and insult readers...

don't pay attention to them, though. based on your popularity here in goodreads a LOT of people will know the kind of author they are and they'll lose possible readers.

Great review, btw :)


The Holy Terror Wendy Darling wrote: "Anyone doing a simple amount of research would see that I champion a ton of books and authors that I believe in, which, I don't know, might be partly why some people might weigh my opinion on 1 star review. But some people are only interested in what concerns them directly anyway."

Whether you believe it or not, this is actually going to affect things for them, I think. This isn't like going after a reviewer with 50 friends. You are one of the top reviewers on this site!

This incident is going to spread like wildfire, and it's really, really dumb of Cass to act like this.

She needs a new agent.


message 265: by HanaJoyful (last edited Jan 13, 2012 10:53PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

HanaJoyful The Holy Terror wrote: "Wendy Darling wrote: "Anyone doing a simple amount of research would see that I champion a ton of books and authors that I believe in, which, I don't know, might be partly why some people might wei..."

I left a sweet and simple tweet for Elana to wake to. These people make my one year old nephew look like fucking einstein.


Julianna Helms Wendy Darling wrote: "Julianna wrote: "Elana Roth is Kiera's agent...

Well that makes sense."

Yeah, sorry, I should have made that clear."


Hey, no problem. I'm so sorry this bashing happened to you. Goodness, why YOU!? *smacks head* Wendy, don't let them get to you. We respect your reviews and greatly value your opinion, but most importantly, we love you, as a person. You're handling this so much better than I would ever have. *hugs* Have you tried eating ice cream? It's my comfort food. It might help you calm down, but if not, at least something delicious is needed right now, yeah? *virtually passes a big bowl of Bert & Rocky's ice cream*


Wendy Darling Thank you, Erika, I really appreciate that. Honestly, I don't know what people are thinking sometimes. To put that out so publicly and not expect anyone to see it? Or act upon it? You want the benefits of social media, you're going to have to accept the consequences when you abuse it.

THT, I'm really surprised by this behavior, but I guess I've been surprised by a lot of behavior recently. I realize the author herself wasn't the one who trolled and called me a bitch, but nor did she stop her cohort from doing so. It IS pretty stupid to antagonize a reviewer whose negative review of your book already has so many "likes" after less than 24 hours live. Did they think this was going to draw less attention to it?

I am constantly flabbergasted by the unprofessional behavior I see, Hana Joy. I see kids who behave with more intelligence and common sense than adults sometimes.

And thanks, Juli. I appreciate hearing that so much...and I don't know who Bert & Rocky are, but I will gladly accept their ice cream.


message 268: by Wicked ♥ (Wickedly Bookish Reviews) aka Bat-Jess (last edited Jan 13, 2012 11:03PM) (new) - added it

Wicked ♥  (Wickedly Bookish Reviews) aka Bat-Jess Wow, just wow... How incredibly unprofessional. I was interested in reading this, but honestly I'm not a fan of internet trolls and author's who can't take criticism. As book reviewers, we know after a certain point in a book whether we are going to like it or not and there is only so much we can take. Have some dignity and take the criticism in stride.

Recently I wrote a pretty negative review for the book Henry VIII, Wolfman. The author actually got on my blog and commented. He has my complete respect because he had such an amazing attitude about it. I was pretty harsh and he was super nice about it and thanked me for taking the time to read and review his book. THAT is the kind of thing that gets authors a second chance. I may not have liked this book, but you can bet I will try his next book because he was such a good sport.

Don't think I will be reading this one. I don't want to have my money, no matter how small it is in the long run, going to someone with that poor of an attitude. Be respectful to reviewers because whether you believe it or not, book fans listen to us. You should be especially respectful to someone other reviewers respect as well. I don't even think I have Wendy on my friends list, but every time I see her DISNEY CHARACTER avatar in the reviews section, I always stop to read it.

Sorry you had to deal with this crap Wendy. Love your reviews!


Jessie  (Ageless Pages Reviews) I'm sorry this happened, Wendy, and that this type of author behavior continues to go on. Your review made me sure I didn't want to waste my money on this drivel and the stupid actions of the author after ensure I will never buy anything she writes. Your reviews are wonderful, thought-out, detailed and accurate. I love your reviews!


Julianna Helms This is what Bert & Rockys is. :]

I agree with Jess. "every time I see her DISNEY CHARACTER avatar in the reviews section, I always stop to read it. " EXACTLY.


message 271: by Mariya (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mariya Haha! I did too. When me and Wendy weren't friends yet, I ALWAYS, ALWAYS stopped at her review. #1 reason is I can't help but stop at the disney character. Hahaha! Me love and also b/c I know her reviews are honest and I especially enjoy reading everything from her POV. One of us may like a book and teh other doesn't, but still I enjoy her reviews.


The Holy Terror Wendy Darling wrote: "It IS pretty stupid to antagonize a reviewer whose negative review of your book already has so many "likes" after less than 24 hours live. Did they think this was going to draw less attention to it?"

It's kind of sad because Cass didn't seem like the type to act like this.

Sigh.


Wicked ♥  (Wickedly Bookish Reviews) aka Bat-Jess Julianna wrote: "This is what Bert & Rockys is. :]

I agree with Jess. "every time I see her DISNEY CHARACTER avatar in the reviews section, I always stop to read it. " EXACTLY."


Wendy Darling and Belle are the quintessential bookworms of the Disney lineup, so of course I'm going to listen to what Wendy has to say! It's a very clever marketing tool for your reviews, not that they need the extra help.

And like what Mariya said, even if you don't agree, it's always nice to hear what a thoughtful person on the other side of the fence has to say. She isn't rude or thoughtless in her reviews, she is tactful and honest. Sorry, but not everyone is going to like your book. As reviewers we never guarantee a positive review. It is a chance you are taking.


message 274: by Cara (new)

Cara Oh no Wendy, you don't deserve that in the least. Just so you know I and many others value your opinion, and this author attacking you and goodreads *shakes head* Well anyhow *bear hug*


message 275: by Mariya (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mariya And it is soooo funny that some actually ask me why I post negative reviews on my blog! HA! I mean if I don't like a book I'm just not gonna throw it and say whatever, no review on the blog. I like to give readers of my blog MY HONEST opinion! Buy seriously, I laugh when they ask that!


message 276: by Rose (new) - added it

Rose *facepalms* Oh no, not again.

I'm sorry that this is happening to you, Wendy - this behavior is completely uncalled for. I really don't understand why it's so hard for some authors to not be able to accept that they will have positive and negative reviews of their work in any capacity. This is NOT professional behavior, and what gets me is that the author nor the agent realize that their public tweets/comments can be seen and interpreted for what they are - immaturity. If they're going to act like this each time a negative review comes up, how the devil do they expect to get more readers? It's insulting to people who want to give their honest opinions - positive or negative, and on another level, some bad reviews actually make people curious enough to want to try the book for themselves. But when this kind of behavior results, it's a huge turn-off. Ugh.


Wicked ♥  (Wickedly Bookish Reviews) aka Bat-Jess Mariya wrote: "And it is soooo funny that some actually ask me why I post negative reviews on my blog! HA! I mean if I don't like a book I'm just not gonna throw it and say whatever, no review on the blog. I like..."

The whole point of what we do is to inform fellow book lovers on the best books out there. Most readers don't want to waste time with a bad read and with the economy how it is, we don't have the cash to waste on a bad read either. Books are freaking expensive! Especially when they first come out. Thanks Wendy for saving me from forking out the big bucks for this book.


The Holy Terror 7 pages of comments and 182 "likes" as I post this.

It'll be interesting to see what I wake up to.


message 279: by Sandy (last edited Jan 13, 2012 11:50PM) (new) - added it

Sandy She DID not just write that about our Wendy!

WHAT??? Did this author and her agent learn nothing from the events of last week??? I'm honestly shocked. Did they think people wouldn't see these comments? These people have NO IDEA how much love and respect you have on Goodreads and in the book reviewing community, Wendy.

And there's a reason why we love and respect you, Wendy. You ALWAYS take the time to write well-reasoned, fair reviews ABOUT THE BOOK, which is what a review is supposed to be. A negative review is not mean. It's not meant for the author's ego. Thank you, Wendy, for the well written, thoughtful reviews you've always written for all of us!

Gah, I'm unbelievably frustrated right now. Grrrr...

Hugs to you, Wendy.


The Holy Terror Cillian wrote: "You should add that screencap to your review, Wendy, IMO. I know you don't like this kind of attention, but it would only be fair if you respond by giving her a wall of shame."

That would unfortunately get her review pulled though. Can't talk about the author in a review, sadly.


The Holy Terror She could edit comment number 2 though, with the screencap.


Wendy Darling Hey Jess, thanks so much. My opinion of some authors have gone way up after the way I've seen them handle criticism, too. Just as it's gone way down after incidents like this. I didn't enjoy this book but bore it no ill will until this blew up. Thanks for the kind words about my reviews, too--I hope that my love and respect for books comes through, if nothing else.

Thank you Jessie, Juli, and Mariya. :) And it's nice to know Wendy is welcomed when you see her in your feed!

And exactly. I have had many discussions with people when we disagree about books, and it can remain thoughtful just so long as everyone respects everyone else. Which is clearly not what is happening here. You can't "love" GoodReads and have no respect for the people who participate in it.

Bear hug gratefully accepted, Cara. *sigh*

Mariya, I don't really trust the opinions of someone who likes everything, so...it's always interesting to me when I hear people say that.

Thank you, Rose. I agree, this is completely unprofessional--and I really wonder what they will do when more and more reviews start rolling in. Should be interesting to watch.

And exactly, Jess. As has been discussed time and time again, non-professional critics write reviews for our fellow readers, NOT for authors or publishers. I don't have any patience for anyone who doesn't respect that everyone has a right to express his or her opinion.

THT...yes.


message 283: by Krystle (new)

Krystle Gosh, this shit is still going on. I'm so sorry you have to experience this, Wendy. =(.


The Holy Terror Cillian wrote: "I thought about that, THT, but in Wendy's case, she has a review of the book, if she adds the sceencap on the bottom that won't count as reviewing the author."

No, it does, unfortunately. If someone flags Wendy's review, GR will pull it. No matter what else you say in your review, you can't bring up anything about the author.


message 285: by Krystle (last edited Jan 13, 2012 11:55PM) (new)

Krystle Yeah, Julie Kagawa's post was great and all but she quoted MY review. Her comments after the quote make me pissed. I think it's hypocritical to write a post about not commenting on reviews and leaving reviewers alone but she had the time and energy to quote MY review? Isn't that basically responding to MY review?

Seriously, if you're going to get so upset about reading negative reviews, just don't read them!


message 286: by Sandy (last edited Jan 13, 2012 11:58PM) (new) - added it

Sandy Krystle wrote: "Yeah, Julie Kagawa's post was great and all but she quoted MY review. Her comments after my review make me pissed. I think it's hypocritical to write a post about not commenting on reviews and left..."

Sorry, Krystle! You're right--she should have taken that part out.


message 287: by Wendy Darling (last edited Jan 13, 2012 11:59PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Wendy Darling Thanks for the suggestions ladies, but I think I'd like to just let this review stay untouched. The comments say a lot already for anyone who cares to look, and I've already seen it pop up on a lot of "never will I ever" shelves tonight. Besides, I think the review of the book stands for itself.

Sandy. Thank you so much, that means so much to me from someone whose reviews I love so much! Ugh, this is such a mess. I try really hard to stay respectful even on my snarkiest reviews (which this is for sure), so...this really annoys me. They're in for a shock if they get upset over a review like this.

Also, I'm really tired of the "you can't review until you've finished a book" argument. Says who? I'm not a professional critic. My reasons for not finishing a book are still probably helpful to some, and to those who don't find DNF reviews valid, they're free to make their own decisions.

Thanks Krystle. It pretty much blows.


Wendy Darling That's a good idea, Cillian--I just edited the review and added a line at the very end. Does that make sense?

And sorry about that, Krystle. I don't agree with authors hitting back indirectly via blog posts and twitter, either.


message 289: by Krystle (new)

Krystle Yeah, it's so passive aggressive. I hate it.


message 290: by Ferdy (new)

Ferdy WTF?! I was still going to buy this book because of the lovely cover.. even though I knew it'd be utter rubbish.. but not now.. cover be damned! I love your reviews Wendy - Their honest, entertaining, well written and just plain funny!


message 291: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Wendy I adore your reviews! I read your reviews and trust that they are well balanced and well thought out. Maybe sometimes I disagree or think "I'll give it a try anyway" but it is always nice to read your reviews. I can tell you deeply love books and I really admire that. And hey, some of my favourite movies are Disney - they should not be dissed :)


message 292: by Wendy Darling (last edited Jan 14, 2012 12:48AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Wendy Darling Krystle wrote: "Yeah, it's so passive aggressive. I hate it."

Well, it's just another public proclamation, that's all. It's like Julie Halpern's behavior last week. Yes, it was on her own blog. But it's meant for public consumption, which means that if you're a professional who behaves unprofessionally, you shouldn't be surprised if people call you on it.

Thanks Ferdy, I really appreciate that. It would be really easy for me to write nothing but glowing reviews and soak up freebies and kiss up to authors and so on and so forth, but I'd like to think that writing honest opinions still has some value.

And thank you, Maree! I'm not always turned off by a negative review either, which is why I am stunned that some authors seem to be so short-sighted. Negative reviews don't always turn me off, but negative behavior sure does. I also respect everyone's opinion even if I don't necessarily agree with it...it's a shame that so many of these guys don't seem to do the same.

The irony of being called out for a Disney avatar by a no-picture "Anonymous" person does not escape me. As Cillian so pricelessly pointed out in her comment on my blog.


message 293: by Reynje (new) - rated it 1 star

Reynje Holy frak. I'm so sorry this happened to you Wendy. I am actually gobsmacked by those tweets. So uncalled for.

For what it's worth - your "negative" reviews are always so well thought out and articulated, and I know reviewers and readers (myself included) appreciate them.

Hugs!


message 294: by Maya (new)

Maya Wendy is one of the nicest reviewers on the net. She almost always finds something positive to say about a book, and never writes insulting stuff etc. As many have said the behavior of the agent wasn't only insulting and unprofessional but also completely ... unmerited. There's nothing bitchy about this review. Right now the book has many positive ratings, but as they start distributing more ARCs and at the latest when it's finally released, the number of negative / average reviews will inevitably increase ... and not all of them will be as nice as Wendy's o_O Hopefully they don't get a heart attack.


Jennifer Jensen (Literally Jen) I've read through most of the comments--especially the ones about the author's and agent's reactions. WHY on earth would they even have that conversation in public? Over the phone, fine. Then no one will know and think poorly of them. Not that I am at all endorsing what they are doing. Calling Wendy a "bitch" for simply stating her opinion is stepping way over the line. Don't agents have bosses that should be reprimanding them for this intolerable behavior? I scrolled and read some more of Elana's tweets, and there's one where someone tweets to her about what his book is about (I think he's trying to catch an agent's interest), and she's responds with "Congratulations?" Super rude! If you are advertising that you are an agent on Twitter, you should expect stuff like that happening!


message 296: by Jml2 (last edited Jan 14, 2012 02:46AM) (new)

Jml2 This is why I refuse to buy a book until I've tried a library copy first.
Time and time again it seems the publishing industry will cynically put more effort into the covers and a luring bandwagon premise than the actual book. Then they go and unethically tamper with OUR systems for communicating with each other as we try and sort the wheat from the mountains of chaff they are heaping on us.
Keep your dirty unethical hands off goodreads, authors/agents! And by the way the algorithms are not just about the number of likes, but how popular the reviewer is, because their friends and followers respect their thoughts and/or have the same taste.


message 297: by SJ (new)

SJ How unfortunate that this needlessly all came down as it did! Then again, it does showcase how important your reviews are, both to us and to writers, and as far as I'm concerned that's a positive thing for you. So...well done. :)


message 298: by Chibineko (new) - added it

Chibineko I think I'm going to create a "never will I ever" shelf for this book specifically and blog about this author/agent nastiness. This is just childish.


message 299: by Isamlq (new)

Isamlq aw geez...this again?!
so sorry you had to go through this.


message 300: by Anachronist (last edited Jan 14, 2012 03:00AM) (new)

Anachronist This behavior is absolutely inexcusable. If authors want to take advantage of marketing tools like GoodReads and blogs and Twitter, they'd better smarten up pretty damned fast about etiquette and protocol and common sense and accept the responsibilities that come with them.

AMEN.
Je ne regrette rien aussi. (like that twirling hen or chicken posted earlier). DO continue your good work, Wendy Darling - because of you I might start to like Disney movies again.


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