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I Belong


Review: The Selection by Kiera Cass

Title: The Selection

Author: Kiera Cass

Genre: YA Romance

Series: The Selection Trilogy (Book 1)

Publication Date: April 24, 2012

Format: Hardcover, 327 Pages

ISBN-10: 0062059939 (Harper Teen)

ISBN-13: 978-0062059932 (Harper Teen)

Reviewed by: Emmy

Synopsis:

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 the palace and compete for the heart of the 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.

Quick & Dirty: The Bachelor meets a monarchy in this predictable, but enjoyable debut.  A great concept that’s momentum is carried by the romantic tension that fills the scenes.

Opening Sentence: When we got the letter in the post, my mother was ecstatic.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:  

Illea is founded in the remnants of the United States after the Fourth World War. I don’t mean that sections of the country are rubble or anything, but America no longer exists except as the name of our heroine. America is a Five. In a caste system of eight levels, Fives are the artists, musicians, and creative types of the country. They make very little money, but enough to live on.

Not like Aspen, America’s love and a Six. Sixes live to serve, to be invisible, and Aspen’s spent his life working hard to take care of his large family. It’s because of Aspen America enters into the Selection in the first place. She’s stubborn enough to outlast her mom, but when Aspen tells her he’d never forgive himself if she doesn’t take this chance at a better life — to be a princess — she signs up. And she makes it. Heartbroken after her split with Aspen, a combination of class conflict and “It’s not you it’s me” and “I love you too much to do this to you,” she gets thrown into a world of facades and falling in love. A world she wants nothing to do with as she struggles to piece together her broken heart. But Maxon genuinely wants to know her, he sees past her broken heart to the girl she used to be. He’s smart and cares about his people, nothing like the stuck up shallow prince she was expecting. He listens to her, and in turn she opens his eyes to what’s going on in this closed social system.

As she and Maxon grow closer, the competition becomes more fierce. Celeste, the mean girl of this Bachelor season, is manipulating her way through the competition. While America won’t be intimidated by her, her methods begin to work. Girls leave, both from in coercion person and the prince’s decision as well as threats from beyond the palace. Rebels begin to fight their way through the country, leaving destruction in their wake. Tension mounts for all the characters as the world inside and outside the palace becomes dangerous.

So obviously I was a fan of the plot. I mean, it had a lot of the same things we’re seeing in most young adult novels these days (like, oh maybe a love triangle?) but I liked the characters (even the secondary, undeveloped ones) enough that I thought the story carried itself. I was engaged the whole way through; there were only two moments when the writing pulled me out of the story, which are pretty minor. I’m definitely looking forward to the sequel to see what happens with Maxon and the rest of the girls!

More things to make clear: this story is more than the Bachelor. It’s not a deep, thought provoking read or anything, but if you liked Matched by Ally Condie this book should be on your list!

Notable Scene:

“The right thing? Aspen, you made believe we could do it.  You made me love you.  And then you talked me into this damn contest.  Do you know they’re practically shipping me off to be one of the Maxon’s playthings?”

He whipped his head around to face me. “What?”

“I’m not allowed to turn him down.  Not for anything.”

Aspen looked sick, angry.  His hands clenched up into fists. “Even…even if he doesn’t want to marry you…he could…?”

“Yes.”

“I’m sorry. I didn’t know.” He took a few deep breaths. “But if he does pick you…that’ll be good. You deserve to be happy.”

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!”

The Selection Trilogy:

1. The Selection

FTC Advisory: Harper Teen provided me with a copy of The Selection.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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2 Responses to “Review: The Selection by Kiera Cass

  1. Rain MaidenNo Gravatar
    1

    Thanks for the review, I’m riding the fence on the one. Love the cover though.

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  2. UKNo Gravatar
    2

    This novel is billed as dystopian, but it’s basically a love triangle with some minor dystopian elements. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but the dystopian label means that readers are going to have certain expectations. Unfortunately, the author does a poor job of world-building. In this world, society is made up of eight castes. The caste system is rigidly enforced and it’s very difficult to move up a caste (although not impossible). There isn’t any explanation given for how society ended up this way, except we’re told it’s been that way since for many generations. I think this is an interesting premise, but I found it very frustrating that except for two brief scenes, everyone just seems to accept the status quo without question. Yes, there are rebels who keep attacking the royal family, but their aims are obscure, and we have no idea what they’ve fighting for. Also, we learn very little about the history of this world except for one really awkward info dump scene about halfway into the book.

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