The Selection by Kiera Cass - A Romantic YA Dystopian

Friday, July 13, 2012

About the Book:
Author: Kiera Cass
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: 2012
Find the Book Elsewhere:
Series: The Selection, Book 1
Genre: Fiction; Teen/YA, Fantasy, Dystopian
Rating: 4 out of 5
Reading young adult or teen fiction is really not where my interest in books is – or so I thought. Recent years have found my bookshelf filling with more secular fiction, and among that, the subgenre of teen fiction has overtaken (with permission) my precious shelf space. I don’t think I can say what drew me to read this one save for the cover art was probably what caught my eye (isn’t it captivating?). Then the story sounded intriguing. Touted as being another version of The Hunger Games, this revolves around a strong-willed female protagonist who lives by a set of rules in a world that separates the social classes.

American Singer works to help provide for her “Five” family but her one mistake may be falling in love with a “Six.” And, then she receives the royal invitation to take part in The Selection. Her mother is delighted, America isn’t. Fighting off the idea of becoming one of “them,” she rebels against being carted off to the palace Is it logical to accept… or will an acceptance break hearts?

I hope you find something you can't live without. I really do. And I hope you never have to know what it's like to have to try and live without them.” - Kiera Cass, The Selection
Most of you probably know that I did read The Hunger Games earlier this year. I didn’t hate it but I also did not understand its draw. Just a mere twenty pages into The Selection, I was already far more enamored with this story than I was by Collins' bestseller. Not only is the story more compelling but it also boasts a passionate heroine. Does she fall into some of the clich├ęs of teenagers with an attitude? Absolutely! But at least, she takes action! (The more I think about it, the more I realize Katniss had the personality of a wooden pole. Sorry, fans.) America is far from perfect and is sometimes downright annoying but above all, at least she reacts. She cries and has fits of anger instead of nothing.

What so drew me into this story is how it aspires to be one thing – a coming-of-age story but winds up being oh-so-much more. It is a mixture of a fairy-tale (a little bit Cinderella with a smidgeon of The Bachelor), an adventure (not in the usual method) and the cherry on top, futuristic. Some may be bothered that this takes place post-America as we know it after a war and takeover destroyed it. Although dystopian stories are not new to the world of fiction, this one isn’t just set in such a world, it actually makes reference to the world “before.” We come to learn that holidays are no longer celebrated or aren’t in the way we know and love them. Though minor, such a theme may be “troubling” for some readers to read about our Homeland in a past tense – as if someday, everything we are proud to be a part of, proud about in our heritage, could be wiped away.

Cass' writing is rich in romantics and a love triangle that shouldn’t be such a dilemma. Like THG, this one involves a boy from home vs. the wealthy prince who could give her everything… but cannot buy her love. This one doesn’t use a battle of the heart so much as develop an endearing friendship between America and Maxon. Her internal struggle is not new but it seemed genuine given the material. Here we have a teenager who feels pressured by her mother into accepting something she doesn’t want. She had a choice to make: To do right by her family and pursue her own dreams while still honoring her parents or put on hold everything she knows to give wings to her mother’s dream. For anyone who had reservations about HG’s propensity to force teenagers to kill one another for their survival, I loved that this one wasn’t a dictator nation in the same sense. The Selection was by choice and though there are times when America alludes to it being wise to partake in events, the people have options. That was perhaps the best thing about this book.

The Selection is an exquisite fairytale that will delight teen readers who are fans of fairytale re-tellings that though not flawless leaves us breathless for the sequel, The Elite coming early in 2013.

Fun Fact: CW is currently developing a television series based on this material. Can I just say that I am beyond excited about it? The cast list includes Aimee Teegarden  and  William Moseley  – who is set to play Aspen but in my humble opinion would have been better suited to Maxon. But then, perhaps that is my biased opinion after seeing him once in a royal role as King Peter.

CONTENT: Though not explicit, America and her boyfriend “mess around.” She always references that they are “careful”; they cannot go too far lest it result in pregnancy. There are minor explicatives though rare: da*n, he*l. 


  1. Great review, Rissi! I'm glad to see that you liked this book. I didn't end up being all that crazy about it, but I *did* enjoy the book as a one-time read. I really liked Aspen!! :-)

    Btw, I love the little "What to Know" that you include at the end of your review. Awesome idea, and so thorough! :-D

  2. I liked this one a great deal more than The Hunger Games which was used to describe this one. It has more of a fairy-tale quality, something I - of course, loved. :-)

    Here again we have Aspen vs. Maxon. Right now... I prefer Maxon because he is so sweet towards America - loving BUT if the show goes through my alliance may shift to Aspen because I love William. ;-)

    I think I'll read this more than once (if ever I shave down the number of books currently in my TBR pile! LOL!) and I will certainly be on the lookout for the sequel.

    Thanks! I know there are lots of readers who want to know what is "bad" in books, so unless it is a Christian novel, I try and add that on the end.

    So glad you stopped by - always enjoy chatting with you. :-)

  3. Thanks for the review! This book seems to keep popping up in the blogosphere, and I confess that the cover really is quite lovely/intriguing!! :)


  4. I may have to check this one out! :)

  5. I am totally excited to read this one =) It is on my waiting list at the library....the fact that it was touted as "The Hunger Games" meets "The Bachelor" totally piques my interest =)

    Oh, about the comment you left on my blog, I own pretty much all of the ones you mentioned--except I would love the first two in the Above the Line series. See, I plan on owning all of her books =) Why don't you comment on my blog with your e-mail address so I can get in touch with you (I won't publish it and besides, I would like to have it for personal use =D)

  6. Amber - really!? I don't think I've seen it on any of the book-y blogs I follow but then I think I follow mainly Christian review sites. Perhaps I shall have to go in search of some good secular fiction review blogs. :-)

    I really enjoyed this one! I hope you do also if you decide to read it! And, yep, the cover is stunning!

    So glad you stopped by, Amber!

    Rachel - you really should! I thought it was... enchanting.

    Ella - cool! I hope you enjoy it once it comes in. I thought it was ten times better than HG. Partly because it was more of a fairy-tale (did you know how much I like those? LOL!) and partly because America was more of a heroine than Katniss will ever be.

    I have mixed emotions about Karen's novels. I loved her Bailey series and thoroughly enjoyed the 9/11 books but... beyond that, I am just not sure! I had every intention of reading the other ones I either bought or were given but I just don't see myself trudging through them. It almost feels as if she is "afraid" of giving her characters a happy ending. I am all for realism in fiction but she seems to, time and again put tragedy in the path of her characters and I don't know how well I like that. :-/

    Sure... off to visit your blog next! :-)

  7. Hmm, this sounds really interesting. I've never thought I'd be into teen fiction either, but the HG has drawn me into it and if I read good reviews I'm open to trying others as well. But, my library doesn't have it (no surprises), so I'll put it on my Amazon wishlist. Maybe one day...

  8. I know what you mean - teen fiction just never appealed to me! Then I read Alex Flinn and loved her books. Naturally, that transitioned into some other authors/books and now, I've found that I really enjoy it. :-)

    Oooh! I am sorry about your library not having this one - I hope you do get a hold of a copy and enjoy it! I really liked it and another blogger thought it sounded reminiscent of Esther's story. Looking back, I can see reflections of that but most of all, I thought it resembled "Games" - and I liked this one a great deal more!

  9. This is a series that I've been wanting to start for awhile. And yes the covers are so pretty.

    1. They are indeed, Jana. They're the kind of covers I see and then instantly think the book MUST be on my shelf... because they're that pretty. :) Hope you enjoy if/when you read this one.


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