Thursday, February 25, 2016

Throwback Thursday Book Review: The Selection by Kiera Cass

Some of you may know that I originally had my own blog, Beauty but a Funny Girl, prior to joining Bookish (now Bookish Lifestyle). I was thinking the other day about all those reviews I left behind when I transferred and thought they should get some love too - no matter how badly written and newbie they come off! So I present to you: Throwback Thursday Reviews! Every once in a while I'll post an old review from Beauty but a Funny Girl, unedited in terms of content, with the exception of any spelling or grammatical mistakes. It's definitely going to be fun and interesting to see how my tastes and writing style have changed over the years!

The Selection #1
Young Adult, Romance, Dystopian
Publication.Date:April 24, 2012
Pages:327 (hardcover)
Published By:  HarperTeen
Website:Kiera Cass

The Selection on Goodreads
My review copy:
Borrowed from the local library

Where to get:

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.


Originally posted June 23, 2013 on Beauty but a Funny Girl

I've seen a lot of mixed reviews regarding The Selection. And it seems that those I'm closest to in the blogging world don't seem to be fans. However, that's what makes the world go 'round, isn't it? How boring would be if we all liked the same book?

Anyway, I fell in the middle with Cass's novel. I liked it, but there were things I wasn't a huge fan about. But let's start at the beginning, shall we?

I picked up this novel, that has been hanging out on my TBR list, because it was this month's pick for Young Adult Book Blogger's Book Club. Originally, it was on my list because of the pretty pretty cover. Also, I thought the premise sounded pretty cool. It's a cross between The Bachelor and The Hunger Games. Now before I get murdered for comparing it to The Hunger Games, the connection comes through the fact that these girls are picked "at random," this is (occasionally) taped, people watch it, and Gavril reminds me of Caesar. That's where the connection ends, so breathe.

The romance between America and Aspen is cute and heart wrenching. One of the biggest obstacles they face - before she gets picked for The Selection - is that they are in different castes. America is a Five, while Aspen is a Six. To marry into another caste apparently requires paperwork and months of waiting for the government to approve the marriage/caste change. I thought the dystopian setting was vaguely interesting, but highly unnecessary. We know it takes place in the US, sometime after WWIV, and the US has been through some rough times. It felt kind of like an add-on to the story and it could have easily taken place in a fantasy world and made just as much sense. What also bothered me is that some of the terminology wasn't fully explained. It didn't take away from the story too much, but explanations surely would have enhanced it.

I thought the relationship between America and Maxon was approached quite well. America is brutally honest with Maxon, which he finds it refreshing, and they build a friendship long before the romance comes about. That has to be one of my favorite relationship techniques. Along with America we also learn that Maxon isn't the stuck up prince he appears to be and genuinely cares for others and wants to find a wife and confidant, not just a princess. One of my favorite scenes is when America talks to him about life in the lower castes and he immediately goes into action to give these castes aid.

At the same time, he explains to America why he has kept some of the women around so long: powerful family, favorite of the people, international connections. So he's smart enough to play the game, but keeps his heart and future happiness in mind at the same time. (He'll make a very good king one day.)

Side note: I hate America's name. The story as to why she got it is cute, but I can't get behind it.

One of my favorite aspects of the novels is the girls of The Selection. A majority of them help one another out and just seem like really good girlfriends. Queen Amberly comments that she keeps in touch with some of the girls and America has said that she could see herself keeping in contact with some as well. There are also the super competitive "I will eat your heart" contestants, but for the most part they're friendly. I'm also fond of America consonantly telling the girls to be themselves and not who they think Maxon wants.

Over all, The Selection was pretty good. I read 3/4 of it in a day and I would move on to The Elite immediately if I could. It's an easy and enjoyable read that encompasses both the romantic aspect of a plot as well as a rebelling nation, and a young woman trying to find her place in the world within the eyes of the public. (That sounded a lot deeper and more dramatic than it was meant to, but part of me likes it.)

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