I recently decided to re-read The Selection, a 327 paged dystopian romance by boy band-loving, people who fail to use turn signals-hating mother of two Kiera Cass. Yes, that is what she wrote in her bio.
The Selection was published on April 24, 2012 and since then has been awarded the title of New York Times Bestseller, has spawned three sequels, and generated four spin-off novellas. Paired with the fact that it has sold over 3.5 million copies worldwide and has been published in 32 different languages, think it’s safe to say that The Selection has been more than successful.
Although not a fan of the dystopian genre, I surprisingly really liked The Selection when I read it last year and decided it was time to read it again; a decision I greatly regretted once I found out that our next unit is dystopian novels (there’s only so much I can take).
For 35 girls, the selection is the chance of a lifetime. A chance to break free of the lives they were born into. A chance to live in the palace and compete for the heart of the dashing Prince Maxon. Any other girl would kill for the chance. Except for America. America would rather live in the dirt with the boy she loves than in a castle with one she doesn’t. So when she’s torn away from her secret love with Aspen and sent to compete for the affections of the prince, she goes in with the full intention of getting herself kicked out. But then she meets Maxon and her view shifts forcing her to make the decision between the life she had always planned and one she had never even dreamed of.
I think that what makes The Selection such a unique novel is that I find it can only be described as The Hunger Games meets Cinderella meets The Bachelor. I loved this odd combination and found it created the perfect balance between bloodshed, a princess love story, and catty girl fights.
Being the lover of books that I am, I have to say that The Selection is nowhere close to the best writing I’ve ever read but the storyline is so entertaining that it makes up for the less than noteworthy writing.
One scene I really liked was when there was a rebel attack on the palace and America insisted on bringing her maids with her into the safe room. Upon arrival America’s advisor started ordering her maids around and America fiercely stood up for them.
“‘No.’ I turned to Anne and gave her my first real order. ‘Anne, please take some refreshments to the king, queen, and prince and then come join me.’ I faced Silvia. ‘The rest can fend for themselves. They chose to leave their maids alone, they can get their own damn water. Mine will be sitting with me. Come, ladies.’” (page 303).
I really loved this scene because it clearly shows what kind of person America is. She’s someone who isn’t afraid to stand up for people who can’t stand up for themselves and in my eyes, that is one of the most admirable qualities someone can have. Just from this passage alone you can see that Cass wrote America to have a good heart and it was truly a delight to read a book narrated by such a good person.
Overall I give The Selection a 8 out of 10 for a really entertaining storyline and a heroine who was brave and kind and intelligent – there aren’t a lot of those out there.