Review: The Selection

◆ The Selection by Kiera Cass
◆ Read May 2013
◆ English Edition
❝ 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 must admit that the beautiful cover got me interested in this book and this has been a mistake. Note to self: Don't judge a book by its cover. I tried my best to pick out the positive things in this book, but truly it was impossible for me to really like it.

I strongly disliked the main character America Singer. It started with her name and the so-called symbolism (note the sarcasm) attached to it. Because guess what, America is a singer who lives in a country that used to be called America! I think what Cass was going for was a protagonist who was different from the other girls and less shallow. However, America's constant complaining that she is not beautiful despite the fact that everybody else thinks so is annoying. Her bad-mouthing of some of the other girls in The Selection (Celeste and Bariel) really make her no better than them. Furthermore, she complains about being poor while she is clearly not bad off with apples and pasta. If you do not finish your plate at dinner, then you are not starving, so why does she complain that this is often the case for her family?

The Selection explores features of a dystopian society, but only half-heartedly. Illea's society is divided into castes which indicate how wealthy someone is and what kind of work they do (remind you of The Hunger Games?). But there was no mention of a tyrant/dictator, nor of any law enforcement by guards or police troops, except in the palace. According to America, you're not allowed out of your house after curfew and most certainly not to meet up with a boy in a tree house and make out with him. So how come there is no one to make sure people follow the law?

In addition, the love-triangle between protagonist America, jerk Aspen and golden boy Maxon was such an incredibly cliché. I don't mind love triangles as long as they are executed right, but not even this was the case in The Selection. Two guys in love with one girl who is apparently so wonderful that they would do anything for her. Really though, Aspen should not even have another chance after what he did and in any other situation Maxon would despise America for kicking him the first time they met. The love triangle just doesn't make sense.

In conclusion, this book has a mildly interesting plot that was executed all wrong. I really wanted to like it, but I simply wasn't able to.

1 star because:
✗ Dislikable protagonist
✗ Bad world building
✗ Cliché love triangle


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