Title: The Selection
Author: Kiera Cass
Genre: YA Dystopia
Published: April 24th, 2012
My Rating: ★★
Description: 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 started this review before I finished the book because I knew I wasn’t going to like it. I just didn’t know how much I wasn’t going to like it until I got to the end. Thus I had to rewrite my genial critique and post something a bit more toxic. I was literally screaming into my pillow after I’d read it. Not because my inner feminist was raging, but because NOTHING happened.
The Selection is like Hunger Games meets the Bachelor, only with less blood. A lot less blood. Like, no blood. I assumed the girls would be fighting for their Prince. Either physically or with their rapier wit.
Uh, nope. They rip sleeves off of dresses. They spill punch on gowns. They give each other snide remarks. But they do not actually compete against one another. They merely go on dates with the prince and hope they giggle at the right moment or wear the right color dress.
I don’t even understand what the girls are fighting for because Prince Maxon is a stiff. For the first half of the book, I was reading his voice as Baymax from Big Hero Six. He is absolutely devoid of personality and is not even lovable like our squishy robot friend. I kept hoping for Maxon to show a darker side. What’s the point of being a dashing prince if there’s nothing mysterious about you?
America herself has some spunk, but her voice is so blah. She’s not funny or particularly endearing. The only character I like in the book is Aspen, and he’s a stubborn ass who convinces her to sign up for the competition because he can’t provide for her. He’s a caste below and because he’s the man, if they marry, she’ll become his caste, not the other way around.
The rigidity of the caste structure makes you want the rebels to just tear ass through the place. Unfortunately, their many attempts all end in failure. However, they do manage to breach the security of the palace multiple times a year. Sometimes people die, more often they just trash the place. Which begs the question, who the hell is head of security and why haven’t they been strung up yet?
Though there are constant rebel attacks, we never actually see any action. The girls are always whisked away into a room where they faint away after hearing loud banging. And it’s the clueless prince’s job to try and console them like the frightened sheep they are.
All of this wouldn’t even matter if the story managed to make me laugh. There are a few moments of awkwardness when the family is laughing at some joke (that I apparently missed)…and all I can think of is watching some 50’s TV program–“Gee willikers, America. That was a knee-slapper!” I kept waiting for the banter between the Prince and America to become, you know, banter. But alas, I was disappointed.
Now to the ending. The non-ending. There was no climax, no resolution, no selection. America merely decides that she’s not choosing Maxon or Aspen–who arrives at the palace in the last few chapters which made me think FINALLY something awesome is going to happen (but no)–she’s choosing herself.
Well la-dee-freaking-da. Give me back the time I wasted on this book.
Much like Ally Condie’s Matched (also not a fan of), there’s a simplicity and innocence about The Selection that would appeal to younger YA fans. Or those who like to get cavities while they read because it’s just so darn sweet.
I prefer books that rip out my teeth and leave me in agony.
The Selection has been on my TBR list for a while and I finally read it because the author was coming to town. Needless to say, I did not go to the signing. But I did donate the book to a local Little Free Library with a note saying the author was coming if they’d like to see her.
Have you read it? Do the other books in the series get any better?