Title: The Selection
Author: Kiera Cass
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Genre: Young Adult
How I got the book: Purchased with own money
Where to buy: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository
I have mixed feelings about this one. Firstly, while I did enjoy the overall story, there were bits and pieces that were not so pleasant to read. I will admit that I went into this one not expecting much. This book is so popular I couldn’t not (please excuse the double negative, I’m new at this) read it. From the beginning, there’s not much world building. I felt like I was reading something rather vague. America, our protagonist, and her family are fives. Poor but not so poor that they can’t afford certain luxuries like popcorn, extra clothes, and makeup. There’s this quote from the book:
“We weren’t destitute. But I guess we weren’t that far off either. Our caste was just three away from the bottom.“
I thought this would entail living in a humbling way. What I did not expect was that the family would have the money to buy soccer balls for America’s little brother, instruments, as well as dresses and makeup for America and her other siblings. It was all a bit weird to me.
In the world that America lives in there are caste systems designed to tell everyone where they belong in society. There are Ones, the elites, and Twos, Threes, and Fours, who are well off compared to the lower castes. Then there are Five, Sixes, Sevens, and Eights, the ones not so well off. Not much is mentioned about the lower castes (anything below a five) except one past display of cruelty toward a Six that America mentions in the passing.
Despite the what I felt was a lack of world building, some of the characters stood out, albeit in an in your face way, but still all the same. Celestine Newsome, a two, came across as the “it” girl of the Selected. However, she was parodied in my opinion:
“There, walking toward us, was a brunette with sunglasses on. She had a daisy in her hair, but it had been dyed red to match her lipstick. Her hips swayed as she walked, and each fall of her three-inch heels accentuated her confident stride. Unlike Marlee and Ashley, she didn’t smile. But it wasn’t because she was unhappy. No, she was focused. Her entrance was meant to inspire intimidation. And it worked on ladylike Ashley, who I heard breathe an “Oh, no” as the new girl walked closer. This person, who I recognized as Celeste Newsome of Clermont, Two, didn’t bother me. She assumed we were fighting for the same thing. But you can’t be pushed if it’s something you don’t want.”
Marlee Woodwork, a Four, is a supporting character in the story. She came across as very timid and kind. She becomes one of America’s closest friends and shares a lot of her feelings with her.
And what about Maxon Schreave, the prince? He was okay at best. I didn’t like him very much. The way he spoke was kind of annoying. Still though, I found any mention of him entertaining all the same.
I didn’t really like the choice in personalities, don’t get me wrong, they were great, but some of the personalities didn’t feel genuine. Marlee was one of those. Celestine came across as an agressive personality, and it went great with what she brought to the story, which is someone to hate. However, her interactions felt fake as well. So did Maxon’s. And they were all important characters.
Final opinion: If you like clichés and vague world building, and want to read something purely for the romance, give this one a go. If not, pass and read something else. Overall, the story was entertaining and helped pass the time, but it wasn’t something with a lot of substance.
Summary: For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape a rigid caste system, 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, and competing for a crown she doesn’t want.
Then America meets Prince Maxon—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.
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