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The Selection by Kiera Cass

The Selection (edition 2012)

by Kiera Cass (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,6993522,123 (3.83)89
Title:The Selection
Authors:Kiera Cass (Author)
Info:HarperTeen (2012), Edition: The Selection Series, 336 pages
Tags:young-adult, dystopia

Work details

The Selection by Kiera Cass

  1. 10
    Matched by Ally Condie (Aleana, BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Both of these series have young teens involved in a rigorous selection process to be matched with their future spouse. Political intrigue and the darker side of these dystopian societies set on a future earth add intensity and action.
  2. 00
    Cinder by Marissa Meyer (Aleana)
  3. 00
    Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult (Pluederhausen)

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» See also 89 mentions

English (349)  German (2)  Spanish (1)  All languages (352)
Showing 1-5 of 349 (next | show all)
This had been on my bookshelf for a ridiculous length of time so i figured it was time to read it. It didn't take me long at all to read the book and it was fairly well paced.
This was a bit of a guilty read but definitely better than i was expecting however i really hate the love triangle!
Not sure if i will continue the book series or not, will have to wait and see ( )
  SaraChook | Jun 19, 2019 |
Ah, The Selection, how do I hate thee? Let me count the ways.

1. Characters

First up on the chopping block are the characters. Our dashing heroine is America Singer. Seriously. That’s her name. Not only that, but her name constantly pops up. It’s never, “How are you?” but always, “America, how are you?”, as if we need constant reminding of how much her mother must have hated her when she named her.

America is utterly unlikeable and unsympathetic. She whines her way through most of the book, and her constant haranguing about her boy troubles left me disturbed. America is a singer and a musician (in case the name didn’t tip you off), but not once after her arrival to the palace does it ever mention her practicing her instruments. I may not know a lot about music, but I do remember from my school band days that practice was key. But apparently, America is above such trite, trivial things. Anyways, she’s too busy playing cards with her maids.

As for America’s boy toys:

In one corner we have Droidbot A, formally known as Aspen. Aspen’s main character trait is hotness. He steams. He smolders. He secretes sex from his pores instead of sweat. Also, he’s a massive jerk. He breaks up with America around page 30 because she made him dinner. Because, you know, it’s his job as the manly man to provide for his woman, not the other way around. Bastard. I bet he’s the sort who’d break up with a girl if she so much as mentioned splitting the bill.

While we’re on this subject, America’s reaction? Apologies. She doesn’t even call Droidbot A out on his massive steaming pile of ****. Ugh.

In the other corner we have Droidbot B, also known as Maxon *snrk*. Seriously. It sounds like a brand of band-aid. ‘Maxon, a subsidiary of the Johnson & Johnson Company.’ Funnily enough, Maxon’s name bothered me far more than America’s. It’s just so wrong. Maxon has no personality. He’s not even that hot. Still, we are forced to spend a significant portion of the novel in his company.

Then there’s the villain, Celeste. Celeste is evil. You know that because her name is Celeste, which is French, and French people are evil. Celeste is the true epitome of villainy. She rips America’s dress and *gasp* spills a drink down another girl’s dress on purpose! Oh the humanity! And… that’s it. No evil plans for world domination. No murders, not even some petty thievery. Just a stupid girl looking to get into a catfight. Wow. How thrilling.

As for the other characters, what can be said for them? The lucky ones get one or two token personality traits, but most just simply exist, bland and boring and brainless. There’s an awful lot of characters in this book: America’s family, the other 34 girls in the contest, the maids, the royal family… yet none of them have any memorable personality what-so-ever.

2. Plot

Oh sweet Jesus on a breadstick, the plot. Let’s see. America must choose between Droidbot A and Droidbot B. The end. Yes, this is a difficult choice. Droidbot A is hotter than melted butter, but he’s also a chauvinist pig. Droidbot B is as bland as the band-aid for which he’s named, but he’s also royalty, which has to count for something apparently.

3. World Building

Future writers, please listen to me. Don’t attempt to write fantasy or dystopian fiction unless you are fully prepared to spend a long time developing a complex, realistic, interesting world for your characters to inhabit. If you spend five minutes thinking about it, then it will show. Like it does here. Part way through, we get a brief summary of how America the country turned into the place America the character lives. And it’s painfully obvious that the author has no idea how real world politics work. Her scenario is hilariously unlikely and ridiculous. Furthermore, nothing in this world makes sense. America’s family is poor, on the verge of starving occasionally. But they still have popcorn when they watch TV. There are movies. Who’s making them? Where the computers? There are cell phones. Where the flipping fudge did all the royalty come from? What is up with that caste system? Why the BLEEPBLEEP is this whole selection process televised? Why does the king put up with all that? Isn’t he king? What’s the point of having it on television? Seriously? Who are the rebels? Why are they rebelling? Why can’t we have a book about them instead, since they cannot be more boring that the lot we’re stuck with? Why? Why? Why??

I digress.

4. Lost potential

On a more serious note… the idea of the caste system is actually quite interesting. And the book briefly explores the shortcomings of such a system. For example: America is in Caste Five. That means that she has to do something with the arts for a living. In her case, she sings and plays piano and violin. Her younger sister paints. But her little brother shows no aptitude for art or music. Basically, he’s screwed.

And then, just when things might get interesting, the book trundles onward to describe for the umpteenth time America’s angst over which Droidbot to choose. This had the potential to turn into something really fascinating and neat. This book has been compared quite a lot with The Hunger Games. But The Hunger Games took a concept and then turned it into a high-stakes, slightly meta social commentary on war, celebrities, and what we find entertaining. Result? Something that goes far beyond the standard YA love triangle and is genuinely thought-provoking and deep. This book never even comes close.

5. Royalty

For some reason, America (the country; this is really confusing, isn’t it?) has a lurid fascination with royalty. We couldn’t get enough of Diana, and we certainly can’t get enough of Will and Kate. The idea of royalty making a return to America could have been really fascinating (see above section on lost potential), exploring the irony of such an attraction in a country that fought a war to be free of a monarchy. But the author is just as enamored with royalty as America (the character) is. Royalty can do no wrong. Half the country is starving? Why, the prince had no idea! None at all! The king and queen are blameless too. Despite running everything, they are not in any way responsible for anything bad that happens in the country. Because their royalty. Ew.

Final thoughts:

This book tried way to hard to be the next The Hunger Games. Everything, from the contest to the dresses to the televised interviews and events, come straight from it. But they aren’t comparable at all. Like I said before, Suzanne Collins turns her series into a huge meta commentary on society. The televised aspect of the Hunger Games comments on our own fascination with reality TV and violence. It makes sense. The televised aspect of The Selection makes no sense. None. I don’t know why the royalty even put up with it. There’s a love triangle in The Hunger Games, but it quickly shrinks in importance, seeing as there are bigger things to worry about. By the end, the love triangle barely even matters. It’s no longer about who the heroine loves more, but rather who didn’t commit heinous war crimes and blow up innocent children. There’s two more books in The Selection series, but somehow I doubt that it’ll go in that direction. There’ll be more triteness, more obsessing over which Droidbot to choose, and more Celeste being totally evil and spilling drinks down dresses. Because, you know, that’s what evil overlords do. Muahaha.
( )
1 vote miri12 | May 31, 2019 |
A marvelously trashy, addictive read - Cass rips off a reality show, throws in a caste system, a love triangle and lots of fancy dresses. ( )
  cindywho | May 27, 2019 |
I was in the mood for a YA book and since this one is so popular, I figured it’d be a quick and good read. Oh boy was that wrong.

I just had such a big problem with how the author straddled present day culture with the supposed futuristic dystopian world they were in. It’s post World War IV, which happened because we were in debt to China and they invaded us to get their money back (come on lady, you don’t need to know jack squat about history or economics to know how dumb that is), and yet they still wear jeans, watch tv, ride in limos and have regular jobs? Not a hint of new technology, new lexicon, anything remotely new except she layered a caste system on top of our current society.

The names - you have May and Gerad and Magda and Aspen, but then you name the main character America Singer, who, you guessed it, sings, and lives in what used to be America. But here’s the thing... it’s not some society-wide tradition of having your last name reflect your job. It’s just this girl with the smack you on your nose name for no apparent reason.

Speaking of in your face, America was so unbelievably shallow and fake demure, as was the “be yourself” messaging. This was Hunger Games meets the Bachelor with about half the charm.

2 stars because I finished and I reserve 1 stars for books I hate so much that I can’t get all the way through. I don’t get the popularity, but I should’ve known better I guess. ( )
  jesmlet | Apr 23, 2019 |
America is in love with a completely unsuitable boy from a lower caste. She is persuaded to enter a lottery held to find the crown prince a wife. She's chosen and whisked away to the castle where she fights opposing impulses - one to keep her heart safe and be mercenary about the money she is earning for her family - and the other where she finds herself falling for Maxon despite herself. The story was entertaining but never engaged my interest about the inequalities of the kingdom. ( )
  tjsjohanna | Apr 7, 2019 |
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Book description
The opportunity to be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and pricelss 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, and leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she begins to realize that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.
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"The opportunity to be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and pricelss 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, and leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she begins to realize that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined."--P. [4] of cover.… (more)

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