The Selection by Kiera Cass, 2012, Book  » Books  »
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  • I had a read of the blurb and then decided that I could definitely spare some time to give it a go
  • I know about the whole 'love her enough to let her go' thing, but if he really had understood her and loved her like he apparently did, then why didn't he understand that he'd just made her so unhappy
  • I didn't enjoy this book at all, and I definitely wouldn't recommend it to anybody

    • by turtledove

      all reviews
      This was a book which I saw in the library a few days ago, and the cover immediately grabbed my attention. I mean, look at it, it’s so pretty. I had a read of the blurb and then decided that I could definitely spare some time to give it a go. I regret that thought so much now.

      The book revolves around America Singer and her participation in the ‘Selection’ - a competition between thirty-five girls over who will marry the Prince of the country (Prince Maxon).

      The first thing I hated about was the choice of names. They were all horrific.

      Maxon, Aspen, and worst of all, America Singer. Guess what America Singer does for a living? She sings! What a shock. Quite frankly, nearly every name that came up made me cringe.

      The plot didn’t work at all either. The setting for the story is Illéia - apparently America (not the character, the country) in the future. There are 8 castes, which cause struggle for those at the bottom. This country, for some reason, enjoys blaming all its problems on China. Why? Nobody knows. Everything was apparently China’s fault.

      So, our good friend America was apparently in love with Aspen before the Selection. Why did she sign up then? Because he broke up with her and asked her to try and have a ‘better life’ than with him (in a low caste). I disliked and didn’t understand Aspen and America’s relationship: I know about the whole ‘love her enough to let her go’ thing, but if he really had understood her and loved her like he apparently did, then why didn’t he understand that he’d just made her so unhappy? Again, nobody knows.

      America basically walks into the Selection not wanting to be there. The plot was so horribly predictable. I struggled through ...

      • The Selection by Kiera Cass, 2012, Book
      the rest of the book, praying for a plot twist, praying for some other random love interest to enter. Something that wasn’t America’s obvious fate. Sadly, the book followed the exact path I expected.

      The writing was poor. Seriously poor. Some sentences made me actually crack up. Yes, I’m all for author’s liberty, but some words were ridiculous. Could we go and ask what a ‘whisper-yell’ is?

      The characters needed to be far better developed as well. America was the most indecisive and irritating character I have ever seen in a book, and Maxon (who was meant to be really attractive) was

      in reality very creepy. In spite of being the roughly same age as America, he goes around calling her ‘my dear’. Yes, it’s very strange indeed.

      Sadly, the book ended up exactly how I expected But, no, that’s not all: apparently the author felt the need to drag this book into another FOUR books. Two more about America and Maxon’s selection, and another two about a selection for the future heir of Illéia.

      Overall, this book was not good. The characters, relationships, plot and writing were all poor. I didn’t enjoy this book at all, and I definitely wouldn’t recommend it to anybody.

Alice Franko says :

I completely disagree. I for one loved every bit of this book and it’s series. I thought Kiera Cass did an outstanding job on developing the characters, the plot, and the overall writing. I happened to love the names America, Aspen, and Maxon. American was named that for because of her strong will and stubbornness, similar to the history of the United States of America (thing American Revolution). Aspen was named after the tall and sturdy trees, because he was always there for America to rely on. And the name Maxon means that you are pragmatic, down to earth, and feel a strong duty to protect your environment and home. I believe these names fit the characters perfectly based on the personalities. And I didn’t think the story was predictable at all. I fell in love with these characters and these books, it was like I was experiencing everything with them.

To clarify, Aspen wanted so badly for America to at least sign up for the Selection because he wouldn’t be able to live with himself if he didn’t. He was a six and she was a five, so it was a constant struggle for him to provide for her, and he felt like he was failing at his duties to make sure she never went hungry. Knowing the chances of America getting chosen for the Selection were one in hundreds of millions, neither of them even acknowledged the chance of her being selected. If he knew he had at least made one attempt to help her have a better life, he would feel better. Because he thought that a better life without him is better than a miserable life with him, and that just shows his selfless and loving qualities.

Even if you could easily predict the course of the first book, it was a beautiful story of her struggle of longing for home, and her transition to falling in love with Prince Maxon. This brings us to our next point, about Maxon being “in reality very creepy”. I’m not sure if we read the same book because the book that I read described Maxon as being incredibly good looking, charming, and above all: selfless. America said once that “Maxon is the epitome of all things good”. For crying out loud, in the third book Maxon was convinced that America had betrayed him, yet he was willing to sacrifice his life so that she could live, and admitted to her that she was the one his heart truly loved no matter what she had done. Some may call it cheesy, but I call it so heart-wrenchingly beautiful it makes me want to cry. Maxon had a cruel and ruthless father, who physically beat him, yet Maxon strived to pull his country out of corruption and economic inequality. He goes on to become the best King Illea had ever had, and ever will had. Because he was honest, brave, and altruistic. This is not a man that deserves to be called “creepy”. And by the way, he calls her “my dear” because he is a prince. It makes sense that royalty use more formal diction.

You said that America was “the most indecisive and irritating character”, and I have to admit I completely agree with you. At times while reading the book I hated America. She made some ridiculous and stupid decisions. But I believe this was just a way of further developing her stubborn personality. You’re not going to love every main character of every book you read, and you don’t have to. The author has the freedom to develop their characters how they want to, and the reader has the freedom to choose if they like them or not. America’s stubborn personality and stupid decisions are what made her who she was, and they were necessary for the story to evolve the way it did.

I personally believe that everything in this series was flawless, and I respect your opinion, but I am saddened and disappointed that you failed to see it’s worth as an incredible piece of literature.
turtledove replies :

Well, I guess that’s your opinion, and I do respect that you think differently to me. However, I personally didn’t feel any of the characters had much depth. I know America’s`character’ was a way of developing her personality in the book, but I was completely put off by the fact that she didn’t mature for so long. I may not have to like every main character, but the book was from her point of view, so I didn’t really want to hate her as much as I did.

When it comes to the plot and its predictability, it depends on what you look for in a book. I don’t like knowing exactly what’s going to happen: I want something that will be a mystery until the very last minute. I don’t want something which is going to be so blatantly obvious, because it just doesn’t make me want to read the rest at all. And I’m sorry, but I really didn’t find the love story beautiful. I’m sorry - it’s just that I’ve read so many similar books before, and this didn’t exactly impress me.

I know that Aspen left America because he felt he wouldn’t be able to give her a good enough life, provide for her and so on, but if he knew her so much, he would have known that she wouldn’t have been happy with somebody else. America went absolutely crazy after Aspen dumped her - I don’t think that after knowing each other for so long, Aspen wouldn’t know what America would have to go through. That’s why America’s love for Maxon was an absolute shocker to me, and it made no sense (to me at least).

When it comes to Maxon’s love for America: quite frankly, I didn’t understand why he fell in love with her so much to even sacrifice his life for her. Alright, even if he did, I just didn’t like him. Maxon was described as attractive and charming, but to me, the way he actually acted in the book was slightly creepy. Even as royalty, I can’t see any boy calling a girl of his age`my dear’. It really put me off. He didn’t seem mature enough for me as royalty and someone who’s going to take to the throne and rule a country, and I’m afraid I just didn’t see him as honest and brave. To me, kissing a few girls in the same time frame is not really honest. I know that was what The Selection itself was about, but if he really was honest, I don’t think he would have done that. I also didn’t feel like Maxon was very brave - if he had been brave, he wouldn’t force his daughter into a Selection to save his country (in The Heir, book 4) - he would have found another way out. He would have sacrificed his own life instead - not put his 18 year old daughter’s life on the line. And I did find the romantic aspect of the book (between Maxon and America towards the end) a little too cheesy, and it seemed like another stereotypical young adult fiction romance. I just didn’t see a whole lot of originality in the series (apart from the Selection process): an indecisive girl, two attractive boys, a love triangle. It was just all too familiar for me.

And besides your other points, one of the main reasons I disliked this book was due to the writing. Things like these:

‘Aspen was dressed in white. He looked angelic’.
‘If you don’t want me to be in love with you, you’ll have to stop looking so lovely’
“You idiot ” I whisper-yelled at him. “I hate him I love you I wanted all I ever wanted was you ”

just didn’t win me over. I’m afraid I couldn’t take it very seriously.

I do respect your opinion, but I guess we should just agree to disagree, because I really thought this book was not good, and I didn’t enjoy it at all.
Thanks for commenting though, it is nice to hear an opposing opinion :)
Valeria says :

I actually, did enjoy the book, and I have to admit that at first I just bought it because of the pretty cover, but it is actually a good book. And I recomended it to a few friends who loved it too, I mean like America it’s desperating, yes, but I think you could get used to it, I mean like, you don’t want a main character who always like “Oh, you’re the Prince so I’m gonna do whatever you say to me” at least me, and I kinda liked that she had the guts to say “no” to the Royals or screaming at the Prince your first night there, admitting you’re there enjoying the food until it’s time to go or even kick the Prince in his private parts only because she thought something wrong, so I find this book interesting, and it’s the only one that I could read over and over again and never get bored.
turtledove replies :

I liked the first book more than the third and fourth books, but I still didn’t exactly enjoy it. I personally found America pretty annoying, but I can see how you liked her based on how she stood her ground. I just thought she was a little too indecisive on many matters - and I found most of the thoughts running through her head quite irritating.
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The review was published as it's written by reviewer in August, 2015. The reviewer certified that no compensation was received from the reviewed item producer, trademark owner or any other institution, related with the item reviewed. The site is not responsible for the mistakes made. 1721081648140431/k2311a0821/8.21.15
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