Release Date: April 24th, 2012
Age Group: Young Adult (12+)
Rating: 2/5 Stars
SynopsisFor 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. (GoodReads)
|The Selection was a not-too-well-cooked alphabet stew of America's Next Top Model, The Hunger Games, and Shannon Hale's Princess Academy. At times, it was a little tasteless, and at others, it was pretty hard to swallow. Here's why:|
I have to admit, I liked the idea. And pretty cover shouting "READ ME! READ ME!" pretty much sealed the deal. Of course, I had read Wendy Darling's controversial review that prompted the book to have a premature infamous fate, but I would check it out for myself to see what it was like. Right? Right? Okay.
As I started reading, I got a bit annoyed on how similar it was to other books I'd read. *Cough, cough* Hunger Games *cough*. There were her three maids, which were eerily familiar to the three members in Katniss Everdeen's prep team. There was also the whole "competing against one another to get married to the prince" which was a conflict that was nicely written by Hale in Princess Academy while also introducing other hard-hitting topics like Miri's coming of age and believing in oneself.
As America Singer was Selected, uncanny parallels soon became as small as flies buzzing incessantly around your face. (Though those can be SERIOUSLY annoying.) It started to seem that Cass had just placed The Selection in a dystopian world so there could be a Selection. You catch my drift? Things like caste systems and rebels against the country were introduced early on in the novel, and you would've thought that this being adystopian YA, things would've focused on all the scary and heartbreaking things like taking a stand in a corrupt society or war or stuff like that. But the biggest *gasp* in the whole book was probably when two girls got in a cat-fight and one slapped the other, and the climax came when America decided that she would be undecided between Maxon or Aspen. Oh my golly goodness. It was hard to take The Selection seriously when it all worked up to a silly choice between two guys. I would have a REALLY hard time explaining what the theme was in this book to my teacher. Um...overly selfish girl trying to win the hearts of two men? WHAT!? And the language was definitely pockmarked with a few too many "Wow! Woah! Weird!" to feel really far enough in the future to have had two more world wars, a government name change, and a new aristocracy in the country.
And then there was America. Oh, America. Cass tried to make her seem like a fiery, red-haired heroine who was dependent, intelligent, humble, and beautiful. And maybe she was. But her constant self-commentary got a little out of hand, and kind of did the opposite of what I supposed Cass would have liked it to be. Examples include her "I'm not pretty, really...but okay, I actually am" tirade, and then her stubbornness to join the Selection totally confused me (because, if you happen to be half-starving all the time, which would you go for-love, or food? I don't know about you, but I would definitely head over to the 24 Hour Buffet.) And too, too many descriptions of dresses. I tell you. *Sigh*.
But there's a reason I gave this two stars, and not one. Yes, it may have holes. (Kind of a lot.) But I think The Selection has potential. As the book went on, my liking increased by a very tiny margin, but it still did. And, like from the very beginning, it is still an idea that I cling to and would love love love to be able to enjoy. *Fingers crossed for the second book*