Well hello there!
Today I’m reviewing dystopian romance, The Selection by Kiera Cass.
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 secrett 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.
I’ve wanted to read The Selection ever since I first saw the cover. Covers that have girls in pretty gowns is pretty much “a go” for me! This gown is stunning. I want it so bad!
I received the audiobook from the generous folks at Harper Audio (Harper Collins) – thank you! The Selection is Kiera Cass’ debut novel and it was a fun listen, though not without its flaws. I found the story pretty slow at first, but once America gets to the palace things start to pick up. After a few chapters of wondering if I’d get into this story, I suddenly found myself really wondering what would happen next and was anxious to get back to it! (This is why I listen to audiobooks while running people-it makes me want to run more just so I can listen!)
Cass is pretty creative in turning the premise of a The Bachelor type competition and weaving it into a dystopian setting. The Bachelor and Bachelorette TV shows have always intrigued me so I liked this as the means for which the monarchy chooses their next queen. This reminded me of one of my favorite books, The Princess Academy by Shannon Hale – they are different takes on this whole royal contest idea. I also love the fact that society is split up into different castes based on the type of work you do.
I also liked that we got an insider’s view of the whole story behind the pageantry. America is both likable yet frustrating at times. I like her down to earth nature and the fact that despite this humbleness she does get caught up in the contest and her new life in the palace, just as any girl would! She also finds her competitive streak although she originally hates the competition. She frustrates me a little because she contradicts herself a lot throughout the story. At times Cass’ dialog can be a little trite and some of the things America says don’t seem to fit her personality.
I listened to The Selection as part of the 2012 YA Audiobook Challenge and although I did think the story was entertaining I wasn’t a huge fan of the narrator. Her voice was pretty monotone and she didn’t change-up any voices for the different characters. Now, although I didn’t like the narrator, I still enjoyed the book as a whole, despite the flaws. I also think my students would absolutely love this book so I’ll definitely be adding it to our library catalog. The story ends pretty abruptly and I actually had to check my iPod to see if I missed some tracks, but I didn’t. Although I wasn’t satisfied with the ending, the story was still fun and I’ll definitely be looking for the sequels (its supposed to be a trilogy)! Sometimes it’s okay to just enjoy a book for the story and ignore any faults it may have. The Selection has such a fun story you can just sit back and enjoy!
Girls from middle grades to high school and up, who are always up for a book with some romance, will enjoy The Selection and seeing how America fares in the contest to be queen. Also, get excited (!) because it sounds like the CW is making a pilot for the The Selection series. To read more about this check out Kiera Cass’ website.