Steph Sinclair's Reviews > The Selection

The Selection by Kiera Cass
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I read this book for one reason: To find out why it's a New York Times Best-selling series. After drinking several beers and banging my head against the wall after reading The Selection, I can kinda see why. And to be fair, it's probably not the absolute worst book I've read. (I mean, there's still that time I read Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini...) Still, it is by no means something that I'd recommend.

I know it might seem like I detested The Selection based on my status updates, but to be perfectly honest, I haven't had this much fun reading a terrible book since Midnight Sun .

Reasons Why This Book is Made of LOLZ:

Character names: If there's one thing that I just don't understand about The Selection, it's why more creativity couldn't be used on character names. Really, I'm not asking for much here, but America SINGER? Character names based on their occupation? WHY? What's funny is when other characters ask America what she does for a living because THEY HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IT COULD POSSIBLY BE.

House of Mary Sues: It might not surprise you that this book is about a super special snowflake, but did you know that virtually ALL the characters are just as special? The competition in The Selection isn't just about which girl can win Maxon's heart. Oh no. It's about who's the most special of them all! And since most of them are so damn selfless, they end up tripping over themselves, giving each other compliment after compliment. ("No, you're the prettiest! You'd make such a great Queen. I'm nothing but a cardboard cutout excuse for a supporting character." *giggle*) I shit you not. In fact, even Maxon and Aspen are competing, too. In my hands I hold a royal flush of Mary Sues.

The love triangle: I almost always dislike love triangles. It turns the female character into someone who can only focus on the two boys and becomes a much less interesting person. Her entire story revolves around the boys and which one is the "most perfect" for her. In effect, she is defined by this love triangle and her story becomes a shipping war.

I was hoping The Selection wouldn't fall into that trap and was ecstatic that America was leaving Aspen behind when she left to live at the palace. But I knew things couldn't be that simple since he eventually shows up at the right fucking moment to add unnecessary romantic tension. Because what a coincidence that a poor boy, who's a glorified custodian, would find his way all the way to the palace and a guard right outside America's door! WOW! It must be fate... or perhaps bad writing. Let's go with the latter.

So now we have both boys back into America's life. What's a 16-year-old to do? Who are you going to choose, America?!
"No, I'm not choosing him or you. I'm choosing me."

Bullshit. America spends majority of the book struggling with who to choose. And I would wager that the other books have the very same struggle. If there is one thing this book was good at, it was its predictability.

Also, did I mention how America has never had a female friend? The explanation for this is that she is always working and was homeschooled. But someone she made time to have a steady boyfriend (Aspen) for 2 years. She even mentions his sisters, but apparently, they aren't friends. Even more, I found it super strange that she mentions that Maxon would have been someone she befriended at home had he been a neighbor. So I guess America only had time to make male friends back at home. It's after she is forced to be around other females that she makes female friends.

The thing about her female friends is that the only thing they ever talk about is Maxon. Though he is a supporting character to America, he holds the center of this novel, making it complete one-dimensional, lacking any character depth. It's a real shame because the premise of The Selection isn't entirely a horrible one. But instead, Cass sets up a plot that is so staged that I couldn't possibly take it seriously. Supporting characters are weaker to make America seem stronger. Supporting character make ridiculous suggestions so America can seem smarter. Rebels attack the palace for... reasons not expanded on because it has nothing to do with the romance. But, hey, those scenes make America look like a leader, so why not?

(What really kills me is how America tells Maxon that she "just needs time" to get over her ex-boyfriend, but he has no idea it's Aspen, the very guard he stationed right outside her bedroom at night. And she doesn't seem to have any inclination to tell Maxon either. Also, Maxon doesn't own a set of balls.)

Like I said earlier, I can sort of see the appeal of this book and I've been told it's really popular among younger readers. Two hot boys, pretty dresses, a light and fluffy read. There is nothing wrong with these things. I occasionally like them in my books as well, depending on what kind of mood I'm in. But I would have liked the novel to be about more than just a girl choosing between each guy. We know nothing about her beaus outside of how "cute" they are to America. What are their traits, strengths, morals? How do they individually enhance America's life? What do these male characters represent on a larger scale? How do they even differ?

The Selection doesn't even begin to touch on any of those questions because the story doesn't actually leave you with any to ponder. What it does leave you with is a promise of a love triangle from hell and a sinking sense that the remainder of the series could only be one thing: a waste of time. My paperback came with a sneak peek of book 2 and I was very underwhelmed even more than I was with The Selection. She starts off book 2 with the difficult choice of Maxon or Aspen. I think I will spare myself.

So the question is: Is this book worth a read? In my opinion, no. Alternately, there's The Jewel that has a very similar feel, but is an overall stronger novel in every possible way. Read that instead.

Steph... out!

More reviews and other fantastical things at Cuddlebuggery.
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Reading Progress

September 23, 2013 – Shelved
September 23, 2013 – Shelved as: unlikely
September 23, 2013 – Shelved as: harpercollins
September 23, 2013 – Shelved as: young-adult
September 23, 2013 – Shelved as: if-i-m-feeling-masochistic
January 28, 2015 –
page 22
6.73% "America Singer... the singer?"
January 28, 2015 –
page 41
12.54% "I'm a little confused. Someone help me out. Where does this book take place?"
January 28, 2015 –
page 43
13.15% "Clearly, this Gavril is a Caesar wannabe."
January 28, 2015 –
page 53
16.21% "Damn. Bake the boy some bread and he breaks up with her."
January 29, 2015 –
page 123
37.61% "A lady never raises her voice above a gentle whisper? Well, that's bullshit."
January 29, 2015 –
page 140
42.81% "America's never had a friend in her life, but somehow managed to have a secret boyfriend for two years. Lolz."
January 29, 2015 –
page 167
51.07% "And there's the sexual abuse of a female character to show just how big and bad your dystopian world is."
Started Reading
January 30, 2015 – Shelved as: 2015-reads
January 30, 2015 – Shelved as: ahhhhh-my-eyes
January 30, 2015 – Shelved as: all-the-wrong-choices
January 30, 2015 – Shelved as: could-have-been-better
January 30, 2015 – Shelved as: dat-cover-yo
January 30, 2015 – Shelved as: didn-t-care-for-it
January 30, 2015 – Shelved as: heroines-i-want-to-shake
January 30, 2015 – Shelved as: i-blame-twilight
January 30, 2015 – Shelved as: i-own-it
January 30, 2015 – Shelved as: i-totally-saw-that-coming
January 30, 2015 – Shelved as: interesting-little-creature
January 30, 2015 – Shelved as: le-sigh
January 30, 2015 – Shelved as: kill-me-now
January 30, 2015 – Shelved as: lol-what
January 30, 2015 – Shelved as: lots-of-fail-going-on-here
January 30, 2015 – Shelved as: no-just-no
January 30, 2015 – Shelved as: not-for-me
January 30, 2015 – Shelved as: poor-world-building
January 30, 2015 – Shelved as: rubbish
January 30, 2015 – Shelved as: that-cover-misled-me
January 30, 2015 – Shelved as: why-the-hype
January 30, 2015 – Shelved as: who-published-this
January 30, 2015 – Shelved as: youve-got-to-be-kidding-me
January 30, 2015 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-50 of 58 (58 new)


Kerri (Book Hoarder) Does this mean that you're feeling masochistic?


Ksenia Steph, I thought that after Meg’s comments you wouldn’t read this series… Why?


Evelyn Looi I believe Steph has made the right choice. You see, many people pointed out the many flaws associated with this book(The worldbuilding, character development, romance, prose, etc).


Steph Sinclair I am extremely curious to see why it's a NYT bestseller.


message 5: by Amber J. (new) - added it

Amber J. vaya con Dios

I hope you can make it all the way thru


Steph Sinclair If I can make it to book 4 of the House of Night series, I should be able to at least finish this book.


Morgan If it's any consolation, at least this one is the "best" of the series. It's all downhill from here.


Steph Sinclair That's what I've heard. Shame. They have such pretty covers.


message 9: by Candace (new) - added it

Candace Robinson I actually liked the series!


message 10: by Trakena (new)

Trakena I didn't mind this series, but noticed I did more skimming than actual reading after book 1.


Lauren Yeah I don't see you liking this one. I know I felt like a glutton for punishment when I finished this series.


Kalla [A Bookish Nerd] I enjoyed the series! In my opinion, Kiera Cass improves drastically as the series progresses.


message 13: by Rawan (new) - added it

Rawan I couldn't continue this book. Or even half of it.


message 14: by Mariana (new)

Mariana In this book, all the characters are stupid. In my personal opinion.


message 15: by Mary (new) - rated it 1 star

Mary Hahahaha what? But The Hunger Games was all about the bread!


message 16: by Jennifer (new) - added it

Jennifer It's a very fluffy read. I enjoyed them for what they were lol.


message 17: by Brigid (new)

Brigid HEY! You made it to the 4th House of Night book too? *FIST BUMP*


message 18: by Faisal (new) - added it

Faisal AlAbdulhadi I DEMAND A REVIEW. I LOVE THEM FROM YOU


message 19: by Faisal (new) - added it

Faisal AlAbdulhadi Why did I even purchase this book?


message 20: by Trakena (new)

Trakena Can't wait to read this review ☺️!!!


message 21: by Nova (new) - added it

Nova Zaiden This is probably the best thing I read today. You win, Internet.


message 22: by [deleted user] (new)

I actually read the second one, out of...I don't even know why I did it. But I can honestly say that the second one is even more laughably horrible than this one.


message 23: by Steph (new) - rated it 1 star

Steph Sinclair Abigail wrote: "I actually read the second one, out of...I don't even know why I did it. But I can honestly say that the second one is even more laughably horrible than this one."

I can believe that based on the way this one ended. It's a shame really.


Category Is: Book Review Realness! I still can't understand how the hell books get to be best sellers. There seems to be no formula to it besides "just go there and write whatever the hell you want".


message 25: by Steph (new) - rated it 1 star

Steph Sinclair I should just write a book, tbh. I mean, why the hell not?


message 26: by Carlos (new) - added it

Carlos García I would read it for sure!


Morgan In regards to the love triangle (and everything in general): it gets worse in the second book. America is actually just the most annoying narrator. I swear to you, she spends more than half of that book going "I want Maxon. No, Aspen. Wait, no, Maxon. Jk, Aspen. Maxon? Who knows! I sure don't!" Homegirl needs to learn how to make DECISIONS. Except she can't because she sucks.


message 28: by Steph (new) - rated it 1 star

Steph Sinclair Morgan wrote: "In regards to the love triangle (and everything in general): it gets worse in the second book. America is actually just the most annoying narrator. I swear to you, she spends more than half of that..."

Hahaha. Review of book 2 in a quick paragraph. It's a shame that I can tell that just from reading the first character of book 2.


message 29: by Brigid (new)

Brigid LOLLLLLLL the irony in this is that I've been told this book has a positive female friendship, looks like that's not exactly the case. *snort*


message 30: by Steph (last edited Jan 30, 2015 09:38PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Steph Sinclair Well, I guess it does... but it does not feel organic at all. She does meet several girls during the Selection process and most of them get along. But they don't actively talk about anything other than the prince, so their relationships never feels real.


Morgan I'm like, 99% sure this series does not pass the Bechdel test. Which is a shame.


message 32: by Steph (new) - rated it 1 star

Steph Sinclair Morgan wrote: "I'm like, 99% sure this series does not pass the Bechdel test. Which is a shame."

Not at all. Everyone talks about the prince. Even his mother and aunt.


message 33: by Brigid (last edited Jan 30, 2015 09:51PM) (new)

Brigid Steph wrote: "Well, I guess it does... but it does not feel organic at all. She does meet several girls during the Selection process and most of them get along. But they don't actively talk about anything other ..."

UHHHHH...I despise books that assume all teen girls talk about is boys and beauty products.


message 34: by Brigid (new)

Brigid Morgan wrote: "I'm like, 99% sure this series does not pass the Bechdel test. Which is a shame."

okay. forgive me, what is the Bechdel test?


Morgan If it passes, it means that two female characters have talked about something other than a man. This entire series did not pass. :/


message 36: by Brigid (new)

Brigid Morgan wrote: "If it passes, it means that two female characters have talked about something other than a man. This entire series did not pass. :/"

Oh.....yeah a book based on the Bachelor? UNLIKELY TO PASS.


message 37: by Bee (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bee I did quite like these books, BUT America & the love triangle annoyed me to no end.


message 38: by Sakina (new)

Sakina Amazing review Steph!

I had thought about reading this book but after the author and her agent wrote some offensive things pn twitter about a reviewer who had negatively rated her book I decided it wasn't worth my time to read such a author's book and after your review I am glad I didn't. But I do kind of want to read just to insult it because I know i'll hate it.


message 39: by Trakena (new)

Trakena Great review!!!


Jennavier I loved it when it first came out because.....reasons.... but now for the life of me I can't remember why.


Jennavier I loved it when it first came out because.....reasons.... but now for the life of me I can't remember why.


message 42: by Rachel (new) - added it

Rachel Great review. Kudos to you for pushing through... I gave up at about 35%.


message 43: by Alondra (new) - added it

Alondra Pll I read them all and I was thinking the same about the triangle love and everyboby had their own opinion... just read the whole saga, cause ther's 3 books and would be one more coming soon, and yes they worth it to read, you would change you mind


message 44: by Steph (new) - rated it 1 star

Steph Sinclair Alondra wrote: "I read them all and I was thinking the same about the triangle love and everyboby had their own opinion... just read the whole saga, cause ther's 3 books and would be one more coming soon, and ye..."

So they got better for you as you continued the series?


message 45: by Addy (new)

Addy I tried reading these when they were planning a tv series, but I never got past the second one.


message 46: by Mariana (new)

Mariana It feels so good having someone at my side.. 'cause really, I think this book was terrible but everyone was like "BestBookEvaaa" and I just felt a little left out


message 47: by Alondra (new) - added it

Alondra Pll Steph wrote: "Alondra wrote: "I read them all and I was thinking the same about the triangle love and everyboby had their own opinion... just read the whole saga, cause ther's 3 books and would be one more com..."

Yes, the second one is to different in a so many ways! America learn new things, and she make a lot of decisios.


Lizzie Thankyou!!! i just finished the 1st one and for the life of me i cant figure out what i just read, seriously there is nothing in this book apart from a stupid love triangle that made me want to take a sledgehammer to my head. seriously was there no plot???!!! gah i hate my life


Kathrine Pachniuk I was just majorly spoiled by this review and I don't even care. It's a terrible book >.< And none these "plot twists" surprised me. I didn't think I would like it but then I have felt that before and been wrong. I was not wrong with this one...


message 50: by Nicole (new)

Nicole I totally agree with you on the "Love Triangle" episode, its totally played out and can be represented in a way that makes the girl seem to be obsessing over two boys& who to pick, like you've stated before


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