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

November 5, 2011 – Shelved
January 5, 2012 – Started Reading
January 6, 2012 –
page 25
7.44% "I can already tell that it's going to take heroic effort on my part to finish this book."
January 12, 2012 –
page 168
50.0% "I think it's time to admit this just isn't gonna happen."
January 12, 2012 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-50 of 1,793) (1793 new)

Kate (Nomalicious Reads) I've been sucked in too, its BEAUTIFUL! but the synopsis sounds intriguing!

Wendy Darling Hah, it does. But I'm cautious...I've been burned before. ;)

Kate (Nomalicious Reads) ditto haha, shall be interesting!

Wendy Darling Exactly, Leanne. I think Flann and I might read this one together and MST3K it, hah! But you never know, it could be awesome.

Wendy Darling All those chiffon layers, and being surrounded by other slightly creepy ladies wearing the same pale tones...yeah, I could deal with that. You would look beautiful in this dress, Cillian!

Princess Kayla Wow I want that dress. I almost want this just for the cover, although the blurb sounds intriguing. There aren't many books with protagonists named America.

Princess Kayla Leanne (Magic of Reading) wrote: "Kayla wrote: "Wow I want that dress. I almost want this just for the cover, although the blurb sounds intriguing. There aren't many books with protagonists named America."

I was just thinking that..."

I know I had to read it a few times until I realized it was actually her name.

Wendy Darling Yeah, I don't know...it's an interesting premise but I feel like this has the potential to go horribly wrong. It's so hard to tell just by a blurb and a cover, hah, we'll just have to pick it up and find out for ourselves. :)

message 9: by Crowinator (new)

Crowinator Is she smelling her armpit or what? (c;

There is no romance in my soul.

Wendy Darling Hah hah hah!! Oh, Crow. I'm never going to look at that beautiful cover in the same way again. Damn it.

message 11: by Crowinator (new)

Crowinator Sorry! I couldn't help it. It reminds me of a super-fancy version of those deodorant commercials, like the one where the woman is at a dance club and discretely trying to smell herself by working the armpit raise into a dance move.

The colors are gorgeous, however, and very striking, and I like the font and how it has a tiara over it. There, I've said something positive.

Wendy Darling You are totally right, and it is hilarious. I'm surprised no one at Harper pointed this out.

But I see it on your "to read" shelf! You know you wanna check it out anyway. We're such suckers.

Reynje Crowinator wrote: "Is she smelling her armpit or what? (c;

There is no romance in my soul."

*Laughs hysterically* That was the funniest thing I've read all day :)

RaShelle Workman I love the premise. Sort of a Hunger Games for the crown and the prince.

Shannon Her silly video about the cover actually made me smile. She seems like a fun person.

Whether or not the book will be better than the cover though, remains to be seen.

Wendy Darling Crowinator's observation made me snort too, Reynje. ;) I'm curious about this one too, RaShelle. I guess we'll see!

Thanks for that link, THT, the author seems pretty cute. I updated the thingy above to include her blog post on how the cover image came to be. It's kind of cool.

Kate (Nomalicious Reads) lol maybe i need to incorporate some funny dance moves to test if i stink, I'm so classy and just lift my arm when I want to know lmao.

message 18: by Ceren (new)

Ceren ooo this book's cover looks spectacular! however the plot reminds me too much of 'the goddess test'

Wendy Darling Oh really, Ceren? I haven't read that one, so I had no idea.

Julianna Helms ME TOO!! I'm in love with the cover. Kiera's youtube channel is hilarious, too, so I'm dying for this book. :)

Wendy Darling Hopefully it's fun, Juli! :)

message 22: by Ceren (new)

Ceren I haven't read it either, but I heard it's quite bad!Ps:I read Angel by L.A Weatherly and thoroughly enjoyed it! :)

Wendy Darling Oh good, I'm glad to hear you liked Angel Burn (as it's called here in the U.S.), Ceren! Hope you enjoy the sequel, Angel Fire, too. I have to get off my butt and write my review for it.

message 24: by Ceren (new)

Ceren I know, I usually enjoy writing reviews for books I hated rather then liked, I liked angel fire (I also read that too hehe) but the first was far better. However I liked that fact Weatherly didn't drain the love traiangle scenario and Willow realised her true feelings rather then string both of them along!

Wendy Darling Absolutely agreed! (view spoiler)

message 26: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca This is the sort of amazing, shiny book cover that makes you try and pull it out of the screen, lol. I really hope the actual book lives up to it!

Wendy Darling I hope so, too! I think this is one of those concepts that could go either way, but I have my fingers crossed, Rebecca. :)

Shannon Oh man, it's gotten to the point where I get an email notification for a YA book I've had a conversation with you on, Wendy, that I assume the worst.

That makes me sad. : (

Wendy Darling Hah, awww. I know. I've semi-cringed every time I get a notification on one of the "hot button" books in particular.

On the plus side, my friend is loaning me her ARC of this book so we will get to find out whether this girl is really sniffing her armpit. :D

Wendy Darling Just got it this afternoon, Cillian! Starting it tonight. :)

Reynje Excellent! *does Mr Burns style finger tap*

I shall commence lurking..

message 32: by [deleted user] (last edited Jan 05, 2012 08:25PM) (new)

WANT, WANT, WANT. We're such suckers for lovely covers Wendy! But what's up with the protag's name? "America Singer"?! *headshakes*.
And you better update your reading stats regularly, because I'll be stalking:)

Wendy Darling I will do my best, ladies! I'm staring it before bedtime. :)

I agree about that name, though, Leanne. After Aria, the girl who sings, from Under the Never Sky, I am especially sensitive. :-(

Mariya I hope a couple of chapters before bed turns into the whole book for you. That happened to me a few times before. Hahaha! I really hope you end up liking it!

I was gonna start it yesterday but I was stuck staring at the cover all night! LOL

Wendy Darling Hah, that happens to me all the time. I'm so glad you to see you're enjoying it, Mariya! That's a good sign.

And yeah, I can't stop staring at the cover, both in person and on my computer screen. The pose is a little weird, but the dresses, the colors, the mood...so pretty!

Mariya Yea. that was the same problem I had with the cover, other than that everything I Love. Book covers have the best dresses, don't they?! LOL

I may have liked the cover more if the model position was less awkward. and plus I don't like the expression in her face.

message 37: by [deleted user] (new)

I hope this isn't a replay of Fury D;

♫♥✿LovLivLife Reviews✿♥♫ (Chasity) Wow. This cover is gorgeous!

Julianna Helms I am stalking your statuses, Wendy. Jus' so you know. ;)

Wendy Darling Mariya--maybe if she had a fan or something! Otherwise it looks like she's doing modern interpretive dance. (view spoiler)

Heh, bite your tongue, Hana Joy!

III know Chastity, I really like it too, despite its slight awkwardness.

Oh Juli, you're always stalking me, sweetie pie. ;)

Julianna Helms Wendy Darling wrote: "Oh Juli, you're always stalking me, sweetie pie. ;) "

That is true.


Wendy Darling The chicken, she is mesmerizing! o_O

message 43: by [deleted user] (new)

Wendy Darling wrote: "Mariya--maybe if she had a fan or something! Otherwise it looks like she's doing modern interpretive dance. [spoilers removed]

Heh, bite your tongue, Hana Joy!

III know Chastity, I really like it..."

Hana Joy!! You sounded like my mom for a minute there O__O

Wendy Darling Ooops, sorry. *shudder*

Aly (Fantasy4eva) dude. So prettyyyy. Hope the book is just as good :D

Wendy Darling Barely started, will have updates later or tomorrow morning!

I hope so toooooo. :)

message 47: by Kruti (new)

Kruti O_O wow so beautiful. Can't wait to read your updates :)

message 48: by Amber J. (new) - added it

Amber J. I haven't read Wither, but this synopsis makes me think of that book for some reason. Are they similar?

message 49: by Lucy (new) - added it

Lucy Everyone's saying the blurb comparing it to a mash up of The Hunger Games and The Bachelor should've been a warning, but guys... look at the main character's name. That would be the first warning shot for me.

Wendy Darling Sorry, Kruti, I'm afraid they're not going to be fun.

Wither is leaps and bounds better than this book...and I rated that a 3.

The names were warnings to me too, Lucy, but I was hoping this would at least be fun. And I admit it, I was entranced by the cover. :( I actually did not read the early blurb that compared it Bachelor and Hunger Games but I definitely got the Bachelor vibe. It's more like a mashup with a very juvenile but slightly skeevy Matched, though.

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