The Selection by Kiera Cass
the first book in the Selection trilogy
published on April 24, 2012 by HarperTeen
dystopia | romance
For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.
But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.
Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.
I’ve finally read the famous (infamous, for some) and highly talked-about novel by Kiera Cass. I originally wasn’t planning on reading it, due to the author’s not-so-good behavior, as well as the really annoying character names. A friend gave this to me as a Christmas gift and kept telling me to read it, so I did.
While I wouldn’t say that I regret reading this book–because I don’t, really–I still had a lot of issues with this one, particularly the romance and how horribly it was executed. There was also the case of the badly portrayed characters, mainly America Singer, our female lead. Let me elaborate.
- America’s character was a predictable one. Her name’s America Singer and, well, she’s a singer. Also, in certain situations, the choices she made were obvious and safe–the author didn’t take any risks. For example, even though she was initially not going to fill up the form to enter the Selection, but after a few choice words from her boyfriend, she goes anyway!
- I really don’t know how to describe America properly. Aside from annoying, I couldn’t find the right adjectives to describe her because of her character inconsistencies. At first, she may seem kind of sassy and snarky, but then suddenly she’s all girly and flirty. She’s also portrayed (sort of) as a “humble,” poor girl, but then before she leaves for the Selection, she signs autographs, takes photos and shakes hands with her “fans.” I mean, sure, go ahead and talk to them, but don’t be all I stayed the longest and had the most fans!
- In line with my statements above, the heroine also has this sense of “modesty.” In this case, I found her to be a very typical YA heroine–a formula main character, I would say. She was all I’m not as pretty as them! when she obviously was. Every couple of pages, someone would tell her how beautiful she was, and she’d tell them how average she was.
- She kept both of her love interests’ hopes up for too long. Please choose, dear, and save them from the heartbreak. She liked (it wasn’t love–just no) both the prince (Maxon) and the childhood friend (Aspen). They both constantly asked her about her view on their relationship with her, but she always answered with I don’t know or I’m not sure. And both boys were love-struck (possibly) enough to go with the flow.
Now, onto the romance. We have the boy she grew up with, and the guy she barely knows. And of course, the angst-ridden girl caught in the middle of it all. Why doesn’t it work out, you might ask?
- America spends one page describing her love for Aspen and how she couldn’t live with out him, and spends the next saying how good Maxon smells.
- The heroine alternates between kissing one guy to the other. While still in the Selection, the competition to win Maxon over, she kisses Aspen. And then suddenly Maxon’s in her room, telling her how he really likes her, and they kiss as well.
- Both males aren’t that attractive (to me, as a reader). Maxon’s character is also inconsistent. Despite not having experience with women, he easily charms the girls of the Selection, knowing exactly how to win them over. Even if he’s a nice guy, I just don’t find him attractive. Aspen’s really bipolar. At first, he’s happy, then he’s angry, then he’s sad. But I prefer him more than Maxon because he has more personality… I think.
I did enjoy the world, the caste system (right after our history lessons about it) and the general idea, but the characters (even the supporting ones) and their relationships just bugged me too much to really enjoy the book.
This review is of my own opinions and thoughts. If you think differently from the way I do, please do leave a comment why, but don’t be rude! If you have the same thoughts as I did, I’d love to discuss them with you!