The Selection

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Overall rating 
 
4.3
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4.0
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4.0
My first thought: this is just like The Hunger Games. My second thought: this is so much better than The Hunger Games. Yes, better, but still hauntingly similar. It's no secret that this book is a Bachelor and Hunger Games mash up, but it was done very well.

Plot: The ever present love-triangle. Usually, I'm really decisive on who I like better, but this book made it really hard. At the beginning, when she and Aspen (her current boyfriend) are together, I was thinking, there's no way I could ever want her to be with that stupid prince. Now, I 'm not so sure.

But there is a major difference from The Hunger Games that I am very pleased with. We don't know if she's going to win. If you've read HG you can't tell me that you didn't know Katniss was going to win. It was obvious. If she died we wouldn't know who won. But here, I honestly have no idea because she says flat out from the beginning, she's not there to win. It ends in a major cliff hanger and I'm dying to read The Elite (which comes out next spring).

Characters: Remember how I said it was just like The Hunger Games? Well it is, even down to the characters. Aspen is just like Gale, the brooding best friend left behind. There's the guy who does all of the interviews (Gavril/Caesar), the slightly or overly peppy coach (Silvia/Effie), and you could even say the mean girl from a higher class (Celeste/Clove). I wasn't really drawn to any of the characters because I'd read them all before. Prince Maxon is quite charming though. America is a great main character and I often found myself giggling at her name in context. (I love you, America! and What am I to do, America?)

Genre: So I wanted to bring up a point about the way this book was written. It's a dystopia, but there was a major difference from all the other dystopias I've read. We all know Katniss as the fiery leader of the rebellion against Snow/Coin. You may know Cassia and how she stumbled up the rebellion with Ky.

But America has no part in the rebellion. She has no problem with her country Illea, sometimes talking about the parts she likes. There is a rebellion though. Unlike all of the others, its threatening her, and she's not the heroine that saves the country. I thought that was a nice twist a stereotype of the genre.

Overall: I finished it in a matter of hours. I got it from the library when I was done for the day and I was done before I went to sleep last night. (I do this quite often though...) I'm a sucker for chick lit and this had a healthy dose of romance in it. I've also been on a dystopic kick right now, so I found this book absolutely charming, despite the ever present thought of HG there.
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The Selection by Kiera Cass
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0

I enjoyed reading this book but was really miffed with the ending....I wanted to know and read more! The book reminded me a little of Matched by Ally Condie though I can't put my finger on exactly why. I enjoyed the whole love triangle, though I have the guy in mind who I hope America will end up with in the end.
The concept of the different castes was a great idea, though nowadays we don't have numbers that tell us where we are in our class/caste system it still exists.
The relationship between america and her little sister May is great and provides the book with some humour too.
America goes into the selection very reluctantly, and not interested in Prince Maxon and the crown at all. America literally joins the selection to put food on her families table. america thinks Prince Maxon must be a spoilt arrogant man, but her opinion rapidly changes when she meets Maxon and gets to spend some time with him.
So basically as the byline on the book says there are 35 girls, and 1 crown that they are competing for....let the fun and games begin! Of course there is lots of jealousy and bitchiness among the girls, regarding who the Prince will finally choose., though Maxon seems blind to these goings on. Some of the girls are there for the romantic element of falling in love with a Prince, some are there to gain themselves a better caste number, as all those who take part in the Selection leave as number 3's. Other girls are there for the crown and the power they think it will give them.
The girl who wins will become a 1 the highest caste number possible, her family will also be lifted up the caste system.
So for a girl like america that would mean her family would never be hungry. Her brother Gerad could choose to do whatever he wished, he wouldn't have to be an artist just because his caste number dictates he should be.
I love the cover as I would say it represents America in a beautiful blue gown
The book is well written with good descriptions of the palace and the surroundings as well as descriptions of the beautiful dressers that the Selection girls are provided with to wear whilst at the palace.
So did I enjoy the book? Yes Would I recommend it? Yes Would I read more by this Author/in this series? Yes I have to read books 2 to see what happens to America, and to see who becomes Maxon's Princess.
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Fun, fluffy princess romance with just a hint of dystopia
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
This book was just fun. I really don’t understand the constant comparisons to The Hunger Games. Yes, they’re both dystopian, but The Selection is VASTLY different from The Hunger Games. America and Katniss are nothing alike, except that they’re both kind of socially awkward. There is no violence (except for a subplot involving rebels that keep attacking the castle for no reason the monarchy can understand). The families in the lower castes may go hungry, but the world doesn’t feel nearly as impoverished and depressing as the Districts of Panem. And while the losers of the Hunger Games die, the losers of the Selection go home to wed prominent businessmen and politicians.

So yeah. Not the same thing.

No, the pop culture phenomenon The Selection most closely resembles is The Bachelor. A bunch of pretty girls trying to win the hand/money (or in this case, crown) of a studly guy. There’s even camera crews and a weekly televised broadcast.

But whereas I can’t stand The Bachelor, I absolutely LOVED The Selection.

Beyond just the abundant prettiness (and there WAS abundant prettiness), this book just gave me happy fluttery feelings in my tummy. America was fun and feisty. Sometimes a bit dense, yes, but that’s when I had to remind myself (as I have to do often in YA books featuring female protagonists) that she is a teenage girl, and so it makes sense for her to be a bit dense.

Prince Maxon was sweet and charming and I’ve got to say, I know the whole point of the book was that America has two viable options in Aspen vs. Maxon, but I am Team Maxon all the way [I can't believe I just said that]. Aspen is stoic and intense and responsible and B-O-R-I-N-G. Granted, we don’t have nearly as much time to get to know him as Maxon, and most of our perception of him is through America’s lovesick and swoony eyes, so I will try not to be too disappointed if she runs back to him in Book 2. But I sincerely hope that Maxon is the victor.

There is a brief attempt to explain how the country of Illéa came to be, although the caste systems are never explained. Maybe in Book 2? I found the explanation reasonable enough. I know there are others out there saying they didn’t buy or understand it, but in the context of the story, and especially since America is narrating in first person and she herself doesn’t fully understand it all, I thought it was fine.

And while there’s very little action or nail-biting suspense in this book (unless you consider a will-they-or-won’t-they romance nail-biting suspense), I still found myself completely enthralled in the beauty of the Palace, the developing relationship between America and Maxon, and the tentative friendships between the girls in the Selection.

The only thing I wasn’t a fan of was the ending. I wanted there to be MORE. Even though I knew it was going to end without resolving a lot of things (since my friend who loaned me the book warned me of as much), I was still sad and surprised when I hit the last page and still had questions. There’s a lot of subplots (and main plots) left hanging at the end. Consider yourself warned.

I think The Selection isn’t so much for Hunger Games fans (although I am a Hunger Games fan) as it is for fans of stories like The Princess Diaries or anything by Jane Austen. Or, obviously, fans of The Bachelor. It’s a fun, sweet, and highly entertaining romance, and the future dystopian setting adds some interest and uniqueness. I enjoyed it immensely.
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Not my cup of tea...
Overall rating 
 
1.0
Plot 
 
1.0
Characters 
 
1.0
Writing Style 
 
1.0
First of all, this review was NOT influenced by childish behaviour of anyone, nor was it by all the bad publicity it got. It's just me being honest. Secondly, if you read this book and liked it you will not like this review... Just thought I should let you know.

The cover really tricked me into reading this one. I read some negative reviews of it, and there was a lot of commotion around this book. I wanted to know what they were really talking about, so I decided I should read this book. And I did. And I think I should get a price for finishing it, because it was horrible, aweful, eye-bawling bad.

Also, I wanted to read this book because it was "The Bachelor meets The Hunger Games" Well, Hell no it wasn't! How dare they call this book anything like The Hunger Games. I'm not the #1 Hunger Games fan, but this book certainly wasn't anything like it. I don't really like the Bachelor, but I have watched some episodes. Maybe even an entire season. It had no rose ceremonies or something, and that's the thing that I really like about the Bachelor.

I usually like dystopian books, and this one was referred to as dystopian. While reading it, I was getting more confused by the page. Where was the dystopian bit of this book?? I was looking for it. But it was nowhere to be found. That really sucked. Cass made some poor attempts, a caste system, which doesn't seem dystopian at all. It's just today's reality, only a little bit exaggerated. Then there is this new country, Illéa, which is the new USA. There have been 2 more world wars. It is extremely strange, after the 4th world war, it would be strange if there was anything left on this world, right? But well, no way I will call this book dystopian.

The main character is called America Singer. What a stupid name is that! All other character names were
'normal', which is pretty strange, considering this book was meant to be dystopian.
Also, America was a very flat and stupid character, and a very disappointing female protagonist. Let me explain it by the means of a random quote: "Would Maxon want me to change? Was that why he was off kissing other girls? Because there was something not quite right about me?" Quotes like me just make me want to bawl my eyes out, multiple times. Girls should be strong and independent, not whiny and stupid. I will not even start talking about Maxon, just to keep this nice and prevent me from having to censor this review... :l

The plot of this book -series?!?!- didn't amuse me at all. I was so glad I finished it. And how on earth does the author manage to write so many words about so little?! She can write a whole trilogy about NOTHING AT ALL!

The way it was written was very immature and basic. Something happened, a thought popped up, it gave me a feeling, I did this. This made the book even worse to read.

So, please, if you want to try this book you should check it out in your library or borrow it from someone, but please don't buy it for your own sake. And remember, this is just my own opinion, I am all right with you if you like it. I'm just being honest.
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Light-Hearted & Fun
(Updated: May 24, 2012)
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Of all the cheesy, eye-rolling and slightly heart-warming releases so far in 2012, The Selection is most definitely my favourite! Though it's not a literary masterpiece - it should be read with the expectation that you will be entertained, and nothing more - it is a LOT of fun!

While there's no rose ceremony, the resemblances to The Bachelor in The Selection are striking! There's elaborate dresses, priceless jewels, a bunch of girls all vying for the love and affection (or money and crown!) of the same Prince, and the tension that only comes with fierce competition. There are definitely some over-the-top cheesy girl-bonding moments, but there is also a lot of suspicion and cattiness. I loved watching the tension reach boiling points, and how quickly the girls were sneaking furtive glances at one another and switching from friends to competitors.

America is an absolute sweetheart who's full of spunk. She's stubborn and opinionated and unafraid to show it. Her interactions with Prince Maxon made for some of my favourite scenes, as I never knew what to expect from her!

"I'm not fighting. My plan is to enjoy the food until you kick me out."

I kept waiting for her to change who she was, in order to both avoid hurting Maxon's feelings and to stay in the competition longer, but she stayed true to herself. It was easy to admire her tenacity and refusal to let her circumstances dictate her actions. Even though she made it clear to Maxon that their relationship was to be merely platonic, as she was still dealing with her feelings for Aspen, I couldn't help but hope for her to let her guard down and let Maxon in.

The dystopian elements are quite light - a futuristic North America wherein everyone is divided into a different caste based on their ancestor's ability to contribute to society - but the light world-building was a non-issue for me. I wasn't interested in how North America came to be Illea (though we are leaked information throughout the book about it's formation), or how everyone was divided into a caste (though, again, the answer is hinted at) because it didn't matter: I was so caught up in America's story, and how much I hoped that she would return Maxon's affections, that I didn't care about how they had gotten to where they were at. I am interested to see what part the rebels will have to play later in the series though!

The Selection is a light-hearted, fun and entertaining read. It's got a little bit of everything - the hope for a fairytale ever-after, a spunky protagonist, two boys to swoon over and a frosting of dystopian-like elements. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it, but would recommend it to anyone who was looking for a little mindless entertainment!
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You know what worked? Going with the flow, going in with no expectations.
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
On a serious note, I adored The Selection by Kiera Cass. The story Cass tells is unconsciously magnetic, unexpectedly so. My attention gravitated to this interesting world of classed citizens and a young girl full of deliciously romantic and almost-there fantasies for her future and the prince who eagerly hopes to make a Love Connection and take a wife while still maintaining honor and respect—of himself and the girls who come to join the party, so to speak.

~These characters are named WHAT now?~

Our main character is America Singer and I just love that ridiculous name, because Cass gives an explanation I can enjoy and while I have yet to see the girl totally grow into what her name represents, I can see potential for the fire I expect later events in the series will coax and set ablaze. America is slow and thorough in her realizations, but she’s honest and as up-front with herself as she can possibly be while wading through her confusing and angsty feelings. That honesty I appreciated, because the last thing she wants to do is lead anyone on—friend, love interest, anyone. There are no cringe-worthy lies or pages and pages of doubt-filled text, which was refreshing.

Aspen, Maxon. Maxon, Aspen. Cass quickly, despite what we are well-aware is bound to happen, manages to spin this intoxicating and alluring dream of what Aspen and America’s future could be like. The whims of the young girl’s heart and her naïve hope that love will conquer all—even poverty—have us willing to believe that Aspen and America can and will be the happy poor couple still deeply in love despite their circumstances. And then those dreams are rudely ripped away and we’re into The Selection and suddenly Prince Maxon is looking like a delectable escape from the anguish. Back to America’s honesty, she is nothing but forthcoming with this handsome, adorably awkward prince hoping, like her, that love will come along and endure any future chaos, and, unexpectedly, a swift friendship forms full of secrets and advice-swapping and startling romantic sparks that shouldn’t have any place in America’s still-mending heart.

~Oh, the tragedies of the heart… Is there a romance here?~

One would think a love triangle would be obvious here, but… Who am I kidding? There IS no but. This love triangle between Maxon and America and Aspen is destined to bring pain and scars, because the two guys who come to mean so much to her are both genuinely good guys, both worthy and beautiful choices in their own ways.

Aspen’s worries and sorrows are shattering and real and honest, because how can a marriage between two differently classed citizens work out and survive the overwhelming and consuming poverty sure to weigh them down? His family is already suffering, and his responsibilities are endless and burdensome being the only remaining male to take them up on his deeply weary person. He loves America, wants to be selfish and hold on, but, at the same time, how can he bring that kind of hopeless life to someone he loves when he can choose differently?

But selflessness can prove tragic and wrenching because his doubts lead America right into The Selection, and, eventually, encourages her sinking into the competition, because how can she face the man who turned her away and smashed her lovely crystalline dreams? Reluctance does nothing to discourage the girls from rudeness and suspicion, and doesn’t hold her back from becoming involved with Prince Maxon. What starts out as a sweet friendship, in which comfort, secrets, little quirky details, and tenderness layer their connection, leisurely turns into something more despite the urgency of Maxon’s decision-making. Maxon develops an advantage, because although it’s easy to fall for Aspen, we get to know Maxon and all his endearing qualities and experience his relationship with America as it grows.

~Is this REALLY a dystopian?~

This is a light dystopian. And people have been saying that and it may be irritating others because the definition is elusive. The Selection by Kiera Cass has touches of dystopian in the caste system and its effects on the citizens, and in the rebellion that’s attacking with a vengeance those who uphold that system.

Really, though, The Selection by Kiera Cass is more about the actual Selection than anything else, and the budding romance that develops as a result. The TV show, the 35 girls in the competition… it takes on more of a charming Cinderella-type themed story. What if Cinderella’s Prince, instead of dancing with a bunch of women looking for his bride, took part in a competition in search of her? These girls are NOT mandated to go and be part of the competition, and can indeed decide. There really isn’t a resemblance to The Hunger Games. This isn’t a hardcore dystopian. This is a dystomance fairy tale retelling hybrid that is way more appealing, and isn’t so much fluff, because the emotion is there, dark and deep, but The Selection by Kiera Cass is fun in a way and almost cheerful. All the women are treated like princesses and so there are lot of fabulous dresses, parties, and other entertaining things amidst so the story is exciting in a girly sort of way.

~So I, like, totally loved this story?~

I didn’t quite love this story, but adoring a book is one step under. It’s the kind of awesomeness that inspires grins and snickers and some SERIOUS mushiness. The Selection by Kiera Cass is full of tender moments and characters that incite attachments. With The Selection nearly over but not quite, it’s hard to contain my anticipation of what turns could possibly twist up the next story. Engaging, enjoyable, and fun, The Selection by Kiera Cass is a delightful relief.

Originally posted at Paranormal Indulgence, 4/27/12

Looking for something similar? You should try Cinder by Marissa Meyer and Amanda Hocking's Trylle series.
Good Points
Peeps, The Selection by Kiera Cass so rocked my heart! Surprised? I was too. After all, there are only so many negative reviews you can take before you start to get worried. But you know what worked? Going with the flow, going in with no expectations. I figured, 'Asher, let’s not go into this book expecting some hardcore dystopian book with ALL THE CRAZY.' Besides, I wanted a love story. And, at The Selection’s core, that’s EXACTLY what I got, and I basked in it, burrowing into the promise of new love while dutifully, though miserably, resisting the temptation of love nearly lost. It also does help that the characters grew on me, The Selection part is coolness; and the tide of the story had me digging right in.
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Fluffy and Fun
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
The Selection was one of the books I wanted more than any others, because it's a dystopia and it has a completely gorgeous cover. Even though I actually don't like the fluffy dress (never been a ruffle fan), it still makes me stare, especially with the ice. Even now, I just got distracted staring at the cover. I think it's something about the colors and the textures to the dress.

Anyway, the description kind of made me laugh a little bit; I mean, it really does sound like a dystopian version of The Bachelor/Cinderella. As far as dystopias go, this definitely is pretty light fare. The society depicted here is a caste system as in olden days, with one's role in society determined by their occupation. Accordingly, women do not have much say in their lives and are required to remain virgins until marriage. Basically, this is a futuristic version of an ancient civilization, which is interesting, but, so far at least, the society really doesn't seem all that bad, although the attacks on the capital are worrisome.

The heroine, America Singer, is as one snarky reviewer pointed out a singer. Surprise. That reviewer deemed this a failure of originality by Cass, but clearly does not understand that historically many people, if they had a last name, had one that referred to their profession (i.e. the reason Smith is so common as a last name is because of blacksmiths, silversmiths, etc.). Research: it is a good thing.

Anywho, the writing definitely is pretty simplistic. Although I prefer complex sentences, I'm okay with Cass' writing. She can get away with it because the story is told from America's perspective. America, as a five (her caste), did not have a great education, so she might not think or speak in a particularly complex manner. Of course, I look forward to seeing Cass really show off her writing skills in later books.

Both Aspen and Maxon have their good points, and their moments that make me feel concerned. As yet, I am not declaring any sort of Team allegiance to either. So far, I suspect that Maxon would be better for America, but I'm not entirely sure that I like him better in general. Aspen definitely strikes me as more swoon-worthy, but Maxon's much nicer. Plus, he can afford to give her the tastiest food.

More than anything, The Selection actually reminds me of Princess Academy by Shannon Hale, which I would definitely recommend to anyone. The Selection is a fun, absorbing read. Will you like it? Well, it's going to be made into a CW television show, and I think it will be a good one (which I know I'll be watching), so if that doesn't appeal to you, The Selection might not either. I, personally, will be looking forward to book two.
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Loved It!
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
This book was definitely different from most dystopian novels, more of a romantic dystopian. If you don't like books that focus mostly on romance then this might not be for you. With that being said, I LOVED this novel! I like that this novel takes place in the future yet the world has returned to some of the older ways. Everyone is separated into different castes from 1-8 which determine their jobs and success in life. America is a strong heroine who is doing the best she can to help support her family who is in caste 5. She eventually ends up joining The Selection in an effort to help her family out. Aspen and Prince Maxon are two completely different characters that both love America. Aspen is America's childhood love and I have to admit, not my favorite character. Prince Maxon on the other hand, is more than America imagined him to be and definitely my choice for the man that deserves America's love. The Selection competition is basically a reality television dating competition to marry the prince. Of course there is a lot of competition between the ladies entering the competition and that adds to the interest in the book. I think America's connection with Aspen is the only thing that annoyed me in this novel partially because I didn't like him and also because it bordered on obsessive. This book ends on quite a cliffhanger that will leave you anxious to read the next one to find out what happens. I definitely recommend this novel if you like romantic novels with a dystopian feel to is.
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