Howdy YAL 's Reviews > The Selection

The Selection by Kiera Cass
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Really deserves zero stars.

See Full Review Here: http://yalbookbriefs.blogspot.com/201...

Two words: drama llama. Well, that and while I love the cover the MC looks like she's smelling her armpits. What's up with that?

Update: I think my friends hate me, I was complaining about this book earlier at lunch today and one just came in and gave me it as a gift so I wouldn't want to read fiction during finals. Think this might do the trick.

Review:

It was a struggle for me to finish this book. I didn't like it. The only reason I read the whole thing is because there has been lots of controversy about finishing this particular book. I was not impressed. Not one bit. Nothing really seemed to happen here. And the dystopia element just seemed forced. It almost seemed like to me, that the book merely started out as some teenage bachelor competition and the author's editor or agent told her to add the dystopia element in there for selling purposes. I know that sounds awful, but the world building is really obsolete in the book.

Also, I really, really, hated the caste system. I get that it's a dystopia and that unjust societies are a part of dystopia, but I hated the way women were objectified in the book. Sexism just reeked out of the book and seemed okay. Condoned. As I'll mention in my worst feature section of the review, I really hated the remarks concerning virginity.

Now let's get to characters. Like the plot: bland. I didn't like America. She seemed nice enough if a tad bit self righteous, but she was bland. Yeah, I get that she sings and that she loves Aspen but she needed....

Something more....you know the thing that Disney Princess's sing about all the time.


The male leads weren't that much better either. We have Aspen who came off a bit dickish to me with his whole--I'm a man-- act. And then there's Maxon who comes off ridiculously fake calling every single one of his harem potential wives "my dear" and what not. I honestly did not see why America confided in him so early on in the trilogy. She didn't even know the guy, yet she was telling him about all her dirty little secrets. Secrets that he could eventually use against her.

Best Feature: Pretty dresses. There are lots and lots of pretty fashion descriptions in this book. It would honestly make a great What Would ___ Wear entry.

Worst Feature: Sexism: This book is just riddled with sexism and superficialness. From the very beginning we are told how naturally pretty America is even though she doesn't believe it. Look, it's okay to have a pretty heroine, but I don't need it smacked in my face every ten pages or so. It also doesn't help that the society that Cass creates is a slap in the face to the women's movement. Let me count how many sexist moments there in the book: 1) Aspen's attitude towards America being the provider (i.e. he breaks up with her), 2) Men being able to marry down a class but not women, 3) The whole freaking virginity thing. Yes, Cass goes there. She decides to have women punished for not keeping their pants on. Look, I get that this is a dystopia. But this really rubbed me the wrong way. Perhaps it's because I've been reading asylum cases for Immigration law that involve girls who are hurt in deplorable ways because of this, but I really wish Kiera wouldn't have gone there. It's icky and honestly it's alienating a huge part of her audience. There are other sexism issues within the book that I could touch upon. Take for instance slut slamming. The character, Celeste, was created entirely for this purpose. And we are constantly told how fake she is while America is this real, natural beauty........

Appropriateness: Nothing too profane is seen in this book. Unless you look at the values it preaches. The sexism in here had me throwing down the book constantly. There is also some violence that is talked about in the book as well, but once again nothing too graphic though there is talk about an attempted rape.

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Reading Progress

04/24/2012 page 38
12.0% "I am already ready to throw in the towel. The book already has two strikes against it (that aren't due to bad author behavior). Heroine who is described as bootyful by everyone in the near vicinity of her and forbidden love. My friends owe me chocolate that's all I have to say."
04/24/2012 page 50
15.0% "And we have strike three: sexism. Now normally this would be a death sentence to the book. But since I haven't got to the fifty percent mark yet and there was such big hoopla over not finishing this particular book. I'm going to make the exception to The Selection. Here's hoping I have enough booze left from my post Halo binge."
04/25/2012 page 67
20.0% "Sexist pureille garbage. You know creating a dystopia society doesn't mean pushing back the women's movement a hundred or so years back. Must refrain from drinking, must. It's not even eight in the morning yet."
04/26/2012 page 93
28.0% "Makeover scene+Sexism+Slut Slamming= I'm actually excited about doing Immigration Law studying."
04/27/2012 page 123
38.0% "So many freaking inconstancies with this one. And don't get me started on Maxon's dialogue....I am now ready to do law stuff all day because of this. Joy."
04/28/2012 page 168
51.0% "The world building for this is just heinous. I might be wrong here, but I suspect in it's initial draft it was just a rom com about a girl who entered a Bachelor like competition and the agent/editor pushed the dystopia thing so it would sell."
04/30/2012 page 198
61.0% "Nothing in this book makes sense. Like America spilling all her secrets to Maxon who she barely knows. Plus, there is no plot to this book. I really want to give up, but I'm not. Primarily because it makes me excited to read First Amendment law."
04/30/2012 page 226
69.0% "Creative way of info dumping: not. Seriously though, I haven't had one positive thing to say about this book yet. Goal for tomorrow, find something positive to say about this book."
04/30/2012 page 226
69.0% "Creative way of info dumping: not. Seriously though, I haven't had one positive thing to say about this book yet. Goal for tomorrow, find something positive to say about this book."
04/30/2012 page 226
69.0% "Creative way of info dumping: not. Seriously though, I haven't had one positive thing to say about this book yet. Goal for tomorrow, find something positive to say about this book."
05/01/2012 page 268
82.0% "Good thing about this book: The plot (or whatever it is) is finally moving sort of. Am honestly I'm sort of being generous here but there is a light at the end this fru fru tunnel."

Comments (showing 1-50 of 52) (52 new)


Megan (Book Brats) It made the NYT Bestseller list for next week. I'm saddened right now TBH.


Howdy YAL I think that made me die a little inside. I don't understand the popularity of this book. Nothing happened and the voice was very dry. I would've thought it would've been at least humorous given Kiera's Youtube personality. But nope.


Megan (Book Brats) My problem is that I thought it might be a satire based on the synopsis. Nope. It was just...blah. It wasn't even sexy or cute or anything.


Howdy YAL Exactly meh described it perfectly. Oh, except for all the sexism in the book that just got me angry. Especially the part about how sex before marriage was outlawed.....


Megan (Book Brats) Oh, but if the Prince wants sex, YOU MUST COMPLY. Also, did you also see where it implied that if Maxon was a Princess, they wouldn't give her 30 boys to choose from? LOL.


Howdy YAL Oh, yes. You can say yes if he's a prince. I guess because princes don't have diseases and can't get you pregnant like anyone else in the kingdom could-rolls eyes. I also couldn't understand for the life of me the caste system. America is an artist and is a five, but other artists like actors are a higher caste? Doesn't make sense one bit. As you can see, I spent way too much time over analyzing the book. I know it probably wasn't supposed to be taken this seriously. But it just grated on me in a really bad way.


Megan (Book Brats) Someone told me that there was evidence that good artists could move up. There was a singer in the second caste I believe, which confused me. And since when are farmers more prestigious than artists? Where do doctors and teachers and lawyers go?


message 8: by Howdy YAL (last edited May 02, 2012 10:52PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Howdy YAL LOL guess that means America and most her family half ass artists. Now that you mentioned it, I vaguely remember reading something about how her brother was able to buy his way up a caste. Nothing about the caste situation makes sense though. Farmers are generally considered a lower class than artists at least from a historical perspective. I'm convinced though that in this book there wasn't much thought into the whole dystopia element. It was merely thrown in there for selling purposes.


Megan (Book Brats) The caste system and the never-seen rebels and a vague mention of hunger and whippings were the only dystopian elements of this story, and they were so rare that the book was just...weird. This book could have been extremely dark just as easily as it could have been a satire - forcing girls to compete in order to save their families, America's family living in a hovel versus an old house with a backyard and a treehouse, constant food shortages...

Nope.


Howdy YAL Once again agree wholeheartedly. I think the lack of world building really is going to show if it gets picked up on the CW. I really don't see how they can possibly think they can have a viable TV show with this. Sure, maybe a season or so. But for multiple years? I really don't know....

Also, got to love those info dumps in history lessons. China took America to war for their debt....really? Wouldn't that sort of be counterintuitive since wars put countries in debt in the first place? Plus, if America had been a Chinese and Russian state for a period of time they would've been affected by their various cultures. It would've been cool and somewhat logical if this was the case. But nope, America is still America except now it's an absolute monarchy with a caste system? Doesn't really make sense to me.


Megan (Book Brats) America was SAVED by a private citizen who instilled Republican values. LMAO.


message 12: by Howdy YAL (last edited May 13, 2012 11:09AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Howdy YAL The whole book really is LOL worthy. I honestly think a drinking game for The Selection will be in order especially if the pilot gets picked up for TV.

Update seems like there won't be a drinking game for The Selection the TV show after all. The CW executives are apparently smarter than I give them credit for.


message 13: by Ginmar (new)

Ginmar Why do so many of these YA books feature this kind of sexism? It's an obvious reflection of some authorial quirk, not something really necessary to the plot. I guess Katniss was too intricate a character to turn into a Mary Sue.


Howdy YAL I blame it on Stephenie Meyer, lol. On a serious note, I do remember reading an essay somewhere that discussed sexism in Twilight (which I think translates a lot into the sexism in YA today). I really wish I could remember where it was from, but the bare bones of it said that a lot of the sexism was an escapism of sorts. It wasn't so much the pedantic values that the book hold that people were attracted to, rather it was living a lifestyle where prince charming sweeps them off their feet and they don't have to work because Prince C will provide for them. It sounds ridiculous to me, as a feminist, but the essayist did have a good argument I think in hindsight.


message 15: by Ginmar (new)

Ginmar I haven't actually read Twilight----is there this kind of virulent slut-shaming in there? I seem to recall Edward blaming Bella almost 'getting raped' and then there's the way Jacob tries to force a kiss on Bella-----which her own father treats as a big ole among-us-boys joke-----set against that whole poisonous stalker backdrop. I guess only the good girls get the princess lifestyle, it seems.


message 16: by Howdy YAL (last edited Jun 04, 2012 05:21PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Howdy YAL There is some slut slamming in Twilight, but it's not like your typical YA slut slamming though where the MC trashes another girl because the love interest is into her. What you mention is the main slut slamming issues with the books. Then there's the fourth book which I think could be sum up as a fart on feminism. Not only does Bella die for Edward and give up any sort of normal life for him, but she basically condemns her spawn to a similar life by allowing Jacob who "imprints" on her to hang around her all the time even though Bella knows what imprinting means-that eventually Nessie is destined to be Jacob's mate (the perverted undertones of this plot device really get me on a tizzy).


message 17: by [deleted user] (last edited Jun 04, 2012 05:23PM) (new)

YAL Book Briefs wrote: "There is some slut slamming in Twilight, but it's not like your typical YA slut slamming though where the MC trashes another girl because the love interest is into her. or whatever What you mentio..."

I'm not the biggest fan of Twilight, but I also don't hate it as bad as some others (Mainly, because I love the secondary characters MUCH more than Bella and Edward - those two just bore me the tears), but I will admit that the forth book is just....NO. It is so damn wrong.


Howdy YAL Lyn, I think my biggest problem with Twilight-besides the fourth book- is that it seems like it's the first book that brought the weak female trend to full force. It's true Bella isn't the worst heroine I've read about, that currently goes to Bethany Church, but I think she's helped spawn some characters that have made me shutter.


message 19: by [deleted user] (new)

YAL Book Briefs wrote: "Lyn, I think my biggest problem with Twilight-besides the fourth book- is that it seems like it's the first book that brought the weak female trend to full force. It's true Bella isn't the worst h..."
The fourth book should be burned and buried.

I was discussing Bella with my sister the other day, and I discovered that my main issue with Bella is Edward. I think she suffered from low self esteem, and virtually no self worth, but when Edward some around, she mistakenly believes that she has finally found a purpose in life. Edward virtually ensures that Bella is codependent, and cannot function without him. And how does he reward her when things get a little rocky? He ups and LEAVES her (In 'New Moon') when he knows that she dependent on him. He's a big jackass, and if Bella had chosen Jacob, I truly believe she would have developed a likable personality and become a stronger person.


message 20: by Thalia (new) - added it

Thalia I feel terrible for actually liking Twilight, hahaha. OTL.


message 21: by [deleted user] (new)

Thalia wrote: "I feel terrible for actually liking Twilight, hahaha. OTL."
I like some of the things in Twilight. I love the other vampire, such as Alice and Jasper, and I like the mythology that she built, but after I reread Twilight, I discovered that the book really suffered because of Bella and Edward.
Don't feel bad for liking a book - that is what makes this place such a great site! ;)


message 22: by Thalia (new) - added it

Thalia That's the thing! I didn't mind Edward OR Bella. My nickname all through middle school was Bella because I was so clumsy, hahah. (:

I think I'm too much of a romantic to find fault with it, ahah. The sensible part of my brain is like, "This isn't quality literature," and the other part is like, "Trololololo I don't care!" (:


message 23: by [deleted user] (new)

Thalia wrote: "That's the thing! I didn't mind Edward OR Bella. My nickname all through middle school was Bella because I was so clumsy, hahah. (:

I think I'm too much of a romantic to find fault with it, ahah. ..."

Different strokes for different folks. :P


message 24: by Ginmar (new)

Ginmar Yeah, Bella was definitely first out the gate for all the shitty, doormat "I'm-nothing-without-a-man" heroines. The thing about Jacob imprinting on the infant....Oh, God, yeah, that won't wind up badly.


message 25: by Howdy YAL (last edited Jun 04, 2012 06:07PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Howdy YAL That's interesting. I actually just did a blog entry about what would've happened to Bella if she would've ended up with Jake as well. Honestly, I didn't like either guy in the series. I found Edward to be a control freak and while Jake was sweet in the first book, I saw him becoming essentially another version of Edward in the later books when he tried to force himself on Bella. But I think you're right, the real problem lies with Bella's self esteem. I think she liked having a guy (aka Edward) take control over her life because she didn't know what she wanted in life. Being turned into a vampire and staying eighteen forever, allowed her not to worry about finding a career or making a life for herself. It was an easy way to bypass making decisions. This is further shown in New Moon when she becomes basically cationic after Edward leaves because she has no idea what to do. It's not until Charlie forces to snap out of it that she even considers hanging out with other people.

Thalia, don't feel bad. I actually liked the series till the fourth book. I even wrote some fan fiction about it. I honestly find Twilight fascinating in a weird way. What I like about this is site is that you get see why others like things you don't like and vice versa.


message 26: by Thalia (new) - added it

Thalia I, personally, didn't find it too strange or weak of Bella to react the way she did in New Moon. Personal experience led me to feel more sorry for her than put out that she couldn't just up and be okay with Edward leaving.

Even I'll admit book four was a little over the top, but that's mostly because it turned into a big soap opera with Renesmee (ugh, that NAME), and then Jacob imprinting on her. It was like, fgisrnhynkrywgrwWHYMEYER.


Howdy YAL I wouldn't have minded a little depression, honestly in New Moon. But what I really wish was for Charlie to intervene must faster than he did. Maybe if she would've seen a therapist and she actually healed, I could've handled New Moon better. I certainly wish she wouldn't have taken back Edward as fast as she did, but that's just me.

LOL agree with you about Renesme (Is it sad that after all this time I'm still not sure if I'm spelling her name right?)


message 28: by [deleted user] (new)

YAL Book Briefs wrote: "I wouldn't have minded a little depression, honestly in New Moon. But what I really wish was for Charlie to intervene must faster than he did. Maybe if she would've seen a therapist and she actua..."
Think of this scenario: You find your teenage daughter catatonic in the woods. Her BF has packed up and moved very VERY suddenly. She has to be carried out of the woods by someone.
I wouldn't think "break-up", I would think "assaulted". I had a HUGE problem how that was all downplayed.

I felt horrible for Jacob. He did turn into an ass later in the series. It seemed like he was trying to change to win Bella over. "Well, she basically dumped me for a guy who acts like an ass, so if I act like an ass, then she'll like me." No, no one should EVER do that just to win someone over.


message 29: by Thalia (new) - added it

Thalia Yeah, even I agree Charlie was kind of crazy. I think Charlie's non-reaction was more of an out to have to write all that into the first person narrative than anything else. THAT would have made more sense. Get Bella some therapy, Charlie, DO something even remotely parent-like.

I couldn't stand Jacob, not ever. Especially in the later books. The way he's just always like, 'Bella, I don't CARE if you don't like me or not, I'm better than Edward, and you will freaking have me or I'll be a psycho about it.' UGH. It wasn't that he thought Edward was controlling or any of the things readers who don't like him object about it. It's that he's a vampire and he just doesn't like him because Bella likes him. And if he really cared about Bella, he should have let her pick whoever the heck she wanted and been just fine and dandy with it. >>

I have a lot of feelings regarding my anger towards Jacob.


message 30: by Howdy YAL (last edited Jun 04, 2012 07:07PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Howdy YAL Lyn, I didn't even think of that but you're absolutely right. The parenting in Twilight is probably one of the worst examples of parenting in YA lit and God knows there's some horrible parenting.

Exactly. I felt like Jacob was trying to change himself to be a werwolf version of Edward for Bella.

LOL Thalia, I'm not exactly a fan of Jacob either, well post werewolf Jacob. I thought he was sort of cute in Twilight and in the beginning of New Moon, but as soon as he became a supernatural he lost his appeal.


message 31: by [deleted user] (new)

Thalia wrote: "I think Charlie's non-reaction was more of an out to have to write all that into the first person narrative than anything else."

Agreed.

I think the Edward/Jacob debates have caused near riots. I have a personal journal I keep online, and when this whole debate blew up, I had to step away because people were threatening to KILL EACH OTHER because they did not agree on the pairing. That was...not a fun time.


message 32: by Thalia (new) - added it

Thalia Yeeeeah. My best friend got shoved up against our locker in seventh grade for wearing her Team Jacob t-shirt.

We took to wearing Team Jacob and Team Edward shirts on the same day, just to prove it could be done. OTL. Gee, society, you're cool.


Howdy YAL Have you guys seen Vampires Suck? Horrible movie, I know but the fights between Team Edward and Team Jacob were a little funny and a tad bit too realistic.


message 34: by [deleted user] (new)

YAL Book Briefs wrote: "Lyn, I didn't even think of that but you're absolutely right. The parenting in Twilight is probably one of the worst examples of parenting in YA lit and God knows there's some horrible parenting.
..."


If I was Charlie, I would have been in jail, because I would have blown Edward's head off when he showed up.
I think Meyer had an issue with conflict. It seemed to be the weakest part of her writing. Even in the fourth book, when things got heated up, the other side just grumbled and basically told the other side to F- off and slithered off the battlefield. I was downright upset when that whole thing came to nothing.


message 35: by Thalia (new) - added it

Thalia Nah, I didn't.
The one thing that the sane members of the fandom agree on at least is that the movies were downright terrible. Breaking Dawn bordered on NEARLY okay movie quality, and that was about it.


message 36: by Thalia (new) - added it

Thalia Lyn said: "I was downright upset when that whole thing came to nothing."

At the same time, she was introducing an entirely new plot. Would we really have wanted a fifth book to flesh it all out? I wouldn't have minded another fifty pages if it meant decent resolution, but it was probably as-is or fifth book. Which, let's just not.


message 37: by [deleted user] (new)

Thalia wrote: "Nah, I didn't.
The one thing that the sane members of the fandom agree on at least is that the movies were downright terrible. Breaking Dawn bordered on NEARLY okay movie quality, and that was abo..."


I saw the first and third movie (Because I do think the third book was tolerable and actually interesting). The first movie felt like I was trying to remove my spleen through my eyes. But I did get some awesome Paramore music out of it, so that made up for the crappy movie.


message 38: by [deleted user] (new)

Holy crap, sorry that your thread was highjacked, YAL. I am always interested in hearing a sane argument for Twilight, and I totally forgot that this is actually for "The Selection".


Howdy YAL Lyn, that made me laugh. But since Edward is a vampire I guess he wouldn't be technically dead when Charlie blew his head off. Or would he? Meyer's mythology always sort of confused me especially after the fourth book. I do agree with the conflict thing as well, I reread The Host a few weeks ago and while it's better than Twilight I did notice that there seemed to be issues with conflict in there too.


Thalia, Breaking Dawn was the one movie I didn't see. I saw the other three in the theaters. My sister and I started laughing at the ridiculousness of the special effects in Eclipse and the fan girls were giving us some major death glares.


message 40: by [deleted user] (new)

YAL Book Briefs wrote: "Have you guys seen Vampires Suck? Horrible movie, I know but the fights between Team Edward and Team Jacob were a little funny and a tad bit too realistic."
I saw the previews for that movie, which had the shipper war, and I did laugh when I watched it, because it was going on when the movie came out.


message 41: by [deleted user] (new)

YAL Book Briefs wrote: "Lyn, that made me laugh. But since Edward is a vampire I guess he wouldn't be technically dead when Charlie blew his head off. Or would he? Meyer's mythology always sort of confused me especiall..."
Good question. I suppose the bullets would have bounced off.


message 42: by Thalia (new) - added it

Thalia Lyn, funny you should mention that--I think at the end of Eclipse, when Edward proposed, Bella made a joke about it being a good thing he a bulletproof, because Charlie was probably going to shoot him.

Yep! Each movie got a little teeny bit better. I laughed my head off at Twilight; which was sad, since I saw it the day it came out and was expecting so much. I practically gagged at the lameness of it all. (Worse actors could not have been picked; though I loved the secondary cast members.) New Moon, I went to the midnight premiere, and it was still horrendous. Eclipse was LESS worse, but still bad. Breaking Dawn was finally tolerable. I'm awaiting Part Two, but I don't look forward to them trying to make Bella all epic now that she's a vampire, hahah.

At this point, I'm like, "The Selection; what's that?" Hahah. (:


Skyla Happy Go Lucky and Lost in Books "Vampires Suck" had its moments and one of them is when the Team Edward and Team Jacob girls go at it and kill one another and some innocent bystanders. That and Edward watching her sleep while wearing plaid pjs, flossing, wearing rollers in his hair =)


message 44: by Jim (new) - added it

Jim I admire your tenacity in finishing this! Excellent review.:)

And thanks for adding a lot of value to that other recent discussion..


Howdy YAL Thanks, Jim :)


message 46: by Kyle (new) - rated it 1 star

Kyle This review is perfect! I've been taking little notes every time I don't like something, and when Aspen was saying "I'm a man. I'm supposed to be the provider." I had a total face palm moment.


Howdy YAL Thanks. I honestly, just didn't get this book. I almost wanted to say it was a parody because it's so backwards. But obviously, it's not.


Annwynbeneaththewaves Yes, god the freaking Sexism! And since the princesses of Illea get married off I'm guessing there will never be a queen regnant of illea? Bullshit, absolute bullshit. Illea needs some suffragist movement


Howdy YAL I hate the fact these books seem to be so misogynic in nature. I was hoping, despite the obvious Bachelor theme, that there would moments of feminism or a push for feminism in the series. But nope, just nope. And I really hated in how in The Elite (view spoiler)


message 50: by Nenia (new) - added it

Nenia Campbell Thalia wrote: "That's the thing! I didn't mind Edward OR Bella. My nickname all through middle school was Bella because I was so clumsy, hahah. (:

I think I'm too much of a romantic to find fault with it, ahah. ..."


OMG. My nickname in college was Bella because I was always falling up the stairs and preaching Jane Austen. LOL


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