The Selection is a book about the future of America, Illéa where the country is divided into 8 castes, One being the highest, Eight being the lowest (Ones are the royals, so the highest commoners could reach is a Two). In Illéa, they hold this competition called The Selection for the prince to choose a “True Daughter of Illéa” to be his wife. Girls aged 16 all over the country sign up for The Selection, but only 35 will be chosen. The prince will then narrow it down to one to be his wife. The story revolves around America Singer, a Five who is forced to join The Selection because it would give her family a better life.
The book’s initial blurb states that it is a cross between The Bachelor and The Hunger Games, and I find that really interesting. Even though the book is considered dystopian because it is set in the future, the whole thing didn’t come off that way. Aside from the cameras, cars, planes, and the fact that The Selection is basically a reality TV show, everything else feels like it is set in the past. The Bachelor thing though is spot on, except on a larger scale. Like, at the end of the day a common girl gets to marry not just any bachelor, but a prince, and she’ll be crowned princess.
Okay, now onto the actual book (or books). Since I read the books pretty quickly, I feel like just talking about them all in one go. So yeah, I’ll do just that. lol.
Disclaimer: Spoilers ahead! If you haven’t read the book yet just scroll until you see a star and read after that.
I didn’t know what to expect of Prince Maxon. When America first saw him on TV, he came across as someone you had to bow down to, otherwise you’d be doomed. However when America entered the palace and was suddenly feeling claustrophobic (which I feel is a little dramatic, but hey I’ve never felt claustrophobic before so I wouldn’t know), Maxon let her out into the gardens, I was like, oh? He’s not that bad after all. Then, when America had this whole fit and basically just let all her anger out on him, he was baffled, but was still extremely nice to her, I immediately rooted for him. I just like his personality more than Aspen’s. Throughout the first book, what I look forward to most is America and Maxon’s conversations. They’re just so funny and you can just feel the chemistry oozing from them.
About her friend, Marlee I initially thought she would backstab America as the story unfolds, but well that didn’t happen. I don’t know, because America was like nonstop praising Marlee, and she too was acting all friendly and kind, I just thought it was an act. Maybe I’m just too suspicious. Heh. At the end of the book, America was an Elite (like duh, obviously she’d make it) and an automatic Three if she didn’t get chosen by Maxon.
In the first book, I could still see Aspen having a shot, but in the second book I could sort of tell it would be Maxon in the end. I could also tell Marlee wanted to stay in the competition because of the palace guard. It was kind of obvious.
I realized as I was reading the book, besides America and Maxon’s encounters, I also look forward to America’s reaction to the “tests” the Elites have to go through, or just her reaction to things she didn’t agree to in general. It’s always unexpected and it always gets her into trouble, and I like her for that. What I didn’t like about her though is the fact that she kind of radiates cockiness sometimes, like she’s better just because she’s a Five. I mean, I get how she experienced hardship and stuff, how it made her tough, but the way she thought of the girls in the higher castes is a tad degrading. At least that’s how I felt.
Near the end of the book, where Maxon’s confessions about the other girls took place–which by the way, could have came much earlier if America just asked, Maxon himself even pointed that out–I felt a little annoyed and it reminded me why I didn’t like The Bachelor in the first place. It was frustrating for me ’cause Maxon is such a sweetheart. Basically he said: He liked America, but he also liked Kriss but in a different way. Celeste was just for fun (as in he made out with her whenever he felt like it) and Elise was for her connections in New Asia. In the real world, when a guy goes around with girls like that it’s called cheating… It was sweet though, the scene in the safe room. And I knew America wouldn’t leave, if she did there wouldn’t be a third book, would it?
I had to wait like 3 weeks for The One to be out, and throughout the first week I was having a hard time not thinking about the book. It was torture.
Anyway, when I thought Aspen didn’t have a chance in The Elite, The One confirmed it. America was in love with Maxon and things weren’t the same anymore for her and Aspen. I love the newfound relationship Celeste and America shared, in fact I think I like Celeste more than any other girl in The Selection. And then there’s Anne’s crush on Aspen. I feel bad for her, and to think she didn’t even make it ’till the end, it was kinda sad. However, Aspen ended up with Lucy, so that’s alright. I like Lucy.
About America’s father’s death, I find it to be so random. I know the author wanted America to be away so that Maxon could miss her and realize he loved her all this time, and so that America would find out her father was a rebel, but still, it was just random for me.
Towards the end of the book, probably the last 20 pages or so, when the rebels attacked and Maxon supposedly died but didn’t, I feel like it was all a bit rushed. I mean, Maxon’s supposed “death” didn’t even last 10 pages (I didn’t count but it was short), and all the stuff going on, I don’t know, I just think it could have been a little elongated to let the feeling really sink in. Then there’s the death of King Clarkson and Queen Amberly, I was like, that was easy. ‘Cause throughout the book it was obvious King Clarkson had to be rid of somehow in order for Maxon to have complete control of the country, so that he could eradicate the caste system, then the rebels came and poof he was gone. lol. I was sad Queen Amberly died along with him though.
I like how the book ended with an epilogue. If you’ve read my Finale Nerd Talk then you would know I like books that end with an epilogue. Heh. Still, it’s hard letting Maxon and America go. I’m happy for them, happy for their ending, but I’ll miss their silly antics.
I saw this book on a Youtuber’s book review and while she said it was written a little young for her and she couldn’t really get into it, I still wanted to read it. I guess I was attracted to the book cover and also the whole The Bachelor concept with a royal family twist. I’d always loved palaces, princesses, ballgowns and stuff like that, so I was intrigued. I didn’t get to it right away ’cause I had so many books in my room that I have yet read, I wanted to finish them first.
One day, I don’t quite remember what caused this, but I was suddenly interested in reading reviews on Goodreads for The Selection by Kiera Cass (I think I was just browsing through the site and saw the book and just clicked on it out of curiosity). It received an average of 4.1 stars (as of writing this) and I thought, oh, I didn’t know it was that good of a book. Then I went along to read the reviews by the readers. It was weird actually, because the reviews that received the most likes were 1 star reviews. Curious, I read them. Most of them were saying the book was not well written and since it was sort of compared to The Hunger Games, they also said its predecessor is a much better book. I know this should turn me off, but I was curious more than ever as to why so many people didn’t like it. (Of course there were good reviews too, but comparatively speaking, the 1 star reviews received more likes)
After reading the book, I think it’s safe to say that the reviewers are over exaggerating.
I have to admit, this book is not as well written as I would have liked it to be, and yes, if this book was written by Suzanne Collins I would probably have been in love with it, but I still like the book as it is. The comments about America being annoying and fake because of the praises she received from people saying how beautiful she was, yet she denied it, I don’t see it as an act. I personally know friends who I find beautiful, but they themselves genuinely didn’t believe it. Of course, they did what they had to do in order to not appear annoying, that is to say “thank you” and leave it at that. America on the other hand, was someone who spoke her mind, and she did exactly that, by saying she didn’t think she was beautiful. I don’t have a problem with that.
About the book being predictable, I have to agree. The only parts I couldn’t see coming were America’s response to whatever she didn’t agree with, and some of the things that Maxon did. But, like I said, I still like the book regardless. I don’t know, I guess I really like the characters and that the whole book is an easy, quick read, it’s just fun for me.
Okay, this post is getting a little too lengthy, so I won’t go through all the points the commenters said. They’re basically exaggerating. lol.
Overall, I would recommend this book to whoever enjoys palaces, princes, princesses, royalty, extravagant stuff, a cute love story, all that fluff. Many others would’ve recommended this book to those who are fans of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Delirium by Lauren Oliver or Matched by Ally Condie, but no, I think this is entirely different from all the books mentioned. Even though The Selection is mildly dystopian, the whole story revolves more around the palace than it is with how the whole dystopian world is constructed. It’s more fairytale-like than dystopian now that I think about it. Sure, there are some action going on with the rebels and stuff, but they’re not as “hardcore” as the kind of action going on in The Hunger Games or Delirium (I’m only saying these two ’cause I’ve read both of the series).
If anyone has any suggestions on books that involve a palace, a prince, a princess, basically the entire royal family and everything that goes along with it, with an added love story, do let me know 🙂 I don’t know if I’ll like historical fiction though (I’ve never read one actually), but if you think it’s really good then please do comment below 🙂
And if you’ve read this far into my post, you deserve a teddy bear 🐻
You can read my previous Nerd Talks here.