Sally's Reviews > The Selection

The Selection by Kiera Cass
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's review
Apr 05, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: 2012-reads, dystopia, young-adult, snark-read
Recommended to Sally by: Word of mouth about the author wank
Recommended for: Younger/teen readers
Read from April 24 to 28, 2012


Exceeded expectations. There were many little things that bothered me though. The North and South rebellions lacked so much depth and just seemed like playground war games for children. It felt tacked on to make the novel more dystopian.

I was expecting more Bachelor like drama, with back-talking and back-stabbing delicious drama that ONTD would love. But no, most of the book was spent on developing the friendship (and obvious potential romance) between America and Maxon. The rest of the book was filled in with angsty woe-is-me-I-lost-my-true-love self-pitying, and the occasional eliminations of girls from the competition that had neither the suspense nor drama needed for the whole premise of the book. I can't decide whether this deviation from my expectations was a good thing or not. I feel like the book couldn't decide whether it wanted to be a fairy tale à la the whole "befriend the prince and fall in love" trope, or to be a dystopia with some actual social/political commentary. You could easily replace the Notherners and Southerners rebellion with magical creatures like orcs, and replace the caste system with racial differentiation between humans and elves, and you'd still end up with the same story—one that probably made more sense. You could easily assume the orcs were looking for some fantastic magical object like a ring and accept the rebellions ring true to the story. But no, in The Selection, there is not enough depth to the rebellion storyline. Not enough information. Can I assume it has something to do with Illéa, the person the country is named after after WWIII? Sure. But that's as far as it goes. I'm sure there will be arguments about this being a series, and how more develop,ends on that front will come later. For me personally, it was not enough. The attacks on the palace were a distraction, that seemed to only serve as thrilling fill-ins for the non-existent drama in the competition.

With that said, I did actually like the main characters. America was a bit self absorbed sometimes, but I liked her spirit and her attitude towards her maids. The whole "be yourself" message really is overdone in YA, but I thought it was well executed here. Sure, I rolled my eyes quite a bit at the "I'm doing this for me" statement to mask her indecisiveness, but overall, she's not a dislikable protagonist.
Maxon was your typical "prince who's clueless about the poverty of his kingdom" royalty, who tried to do the right thing always to please those around him. Not a stand out character in YA and fantasy, but I found his sweetness and innocence towards America quite endearing.
Aspen...your typical boy-next-door character. The one true love. Have always done what he thought was best for America. Hmm, now that I think about it, I guess I don't have much of an attachment to his character after all.
The secondary characters were weak and underdeveloped. Celeste never did go beyond the cliched spoiled/rich mean girl. There seems to be some sort of subplot with Marlee and a "secret" of hers that's left hanging until book 2. Could have potential, but so far a very shallow and uninteresting subplot.

Love triangles are so tired and overused, but I thought it was actually one of The Selection's positive points. It's much better done than most YA these days. America's feelings for both Maxon and Aspen felt real. Her conflictedness was believable to me. Her emotional struggle throughout the book was more real and compelling than any of the Bachelor-lack drama (or lack thereof). (view spoiler)

Overall, a nice, fun and light read. Recommended to a teen audience.

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Reading Progress

1.0% "Yes, I'm reading this despite the author wank. And also because Nikita is probably going to be canceled on The CW to make room for the show based on this book. I need to read it before I shit on it."
3.0% "Maxon Schreave? Embarrassing name for a prince tbh."
18.0% "I keep getting distracted, but so far it's not as bad as I was expecting. It's not even boring like Matched. America is not annoying me as much as Tris from Divergent. But then again, the whole Bachelor-esque storyline has only just started..."
50.0% "Half way through, and not disliking it. Let's see if it really does crash and burn to the end."
76.0% "If I read this 8 years younger I probably would squee and love it."
94.0% ""Because even though you're dating five other women, I think I'm cheating on you, I thought." Oh man, this book... It really has entertained me in a weird, childish way."
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message 1: by Eva (new) - rated it 1 star

Eva Surprising!

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