Monday, June 18, 2012

The Selection by Kiera Cass

Published: April 24th, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 327
Rating: Three stars? Two stars? Eh. I don’t know…
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. [Book Description from Goodreads]
This book was a disappointment. I was so excited for it and went ahead and read it even though I had heard some horrible reviews of it. I immediately fell in love with the cover the minute I laid eyes on it, so there was no stopping me from reading it, bad reviews or not. Well, listen up, folks. A gorgeous cover does not guarantee that the book will be just as epic. *shakes head sadly*
To be honest, I was a little confused on how I felt about The Selection when I finished it. All I knew was that it wasn’t what I expected. Good thing I was on vacation and was restricted from internet access of any kind, because it gave me time to think a little. Here’s what I came up with from the tangle of my muddled thoughts:
1) The characters are hard to relate to. America, though her life is so tough (*fake sniffle*), has a handsome boy who visits her in her treehouse. Then, later on, after she’s entered the Selection, she has not one, but two boys falling for her. (Really? I am so tired of seeing this scenario in books. The majority of teen girls don’t have the problem of having to pick between two devilishly handsome and charming men. We’re lucky if we can get the attention of just one!) But I digress. Anyway, my point is that America is pretty much viewed as Superwoman. She’s beautiful. Everyone is jealous of her. The prince spends all his time with her. They become chummy. Everyone gets more jealous. She’s so brave when there’s rebel attacks and knows just what to do, and has no problems in the world. Woop-de-do.
2) Maxon. Um, I don’t care how many times the Selected candidates gushed about how hot and cute and altogether amazing Maxon was. I’m not buying it. The guy was stiff and awkward (not in the cute way) and way too formal. A lot of things in the palace were way too formal- like King Arthur formal. The girls weren’t supposed to wear pants and the royals had to wear their crowns all the time and they had to say “Prince Maxon” and “Your Highness” and all that flowery, medieval stuff. But I’m letting my thoughts flow together again. In short, Maxon wasn’t delicious at all, and that’s exactly what a handsome, eligible prince should be.
3) All the other contestants were so sweet and kind and lovely to each other. It wasn’t realistic at all. Ok, so Celeste was kind of mean at points, but not the kind of mean that girls are really capable of. I got tired of them all wanting to be friends; this is not Dr. Seuss, people.  
4) The ending was so inconclusive it was funny. The author hardly tied anything up at all. She left all the strings hanging, and the only cliffhanger she left for us was the question of which boy America will pick! How will I wait till the next book??? (*Oozes sarcasm*)
            So, there are my complaints. The only thing I really liked was the cover and the idea of the story. It could have been done so much better (if I had a nickel for every time I’ve hated a storyline but loved the idea…). As many other readers have said, The Selection is a lot like The Bachelor. It’s nothing like The Hunger Games at all, so don’t even go there. In conclusion, this book was an utter disappointment and even kind of ridiculous at some parts. I hate that I have to give such a harsh review to a book with such a beautiful cover, but that’s that. I don’t recommend The Selection-it’s just not what it’s cracked up to be.   
~In regard to the incident with reviewer Wendy Darling and The Selection author, Kiera Cass: first, reviewers post reviews of books FROM THEIR OPINIONS, and sometimes they will be negative reviews. This system is for the benefit of readers to get a peek at what they should read and what they should put back on the shelf. Reviews are NOT a personal bash against the author. Second, authors must learn to accept both positive and negative reviews. There will be plenty of both whether the book is great or awful- why? Because reviewers review FROM THEIR OPINIONS. Not everyone’s opinion will be the same. Authors must accept this- it’s all part of the journey of writing books. Criticism will make you stronger. Defending yourself when you get negative reviews is childish and shows lack of confidence. Third, and on a more hilarious note, agents need to get their noses out of their authors’ businesses. *grin* For more information about the incident, visit this article that was written in response to the situation.~
Quick Content Review: *may contain spoilers*
Language: Mild (two or three minor words)
Violence: None
Sexual: Mild (America and Aspen, America’s boyfriend, make out in her treehouse at night. It’s mentioned they always stop right before “the things [they] really want.” Before the Selection, America is warned not to resist any of Maxon’s advances, however sensual they are. She’s pretty much told to let him do what he wants. Maxon turns out to be a gentleman, though).  

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