Monday, 11 June 2012

The Selection (The Selection #1)

The Selection by Kiera Cass
Paperback, 272 pages

Published June 7th 2012 by Harper Collins Children's Books

My shelves:
 arc-or-review, better-than-expected, books-i-own, cover-appeal, currently-reading, dystopian, read-in-2012, realistic-fiction, really-good, sci-fi, series-or-companions, title-appeal, young-adult
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Description via Goodreads:
Thirty-five beautiful girls. Thirty-five beautiful rivals…

It’s the chance of a lifetime and 17-year-old America Singer should feel lucky. She has been chosen for The Selection, a reality TV lottery in which the special few compete for gorgeous Prince Maxon's love.

Swept up in a world of elaborate gowns, glittering jewels and decadent feasts, America is living a new and glamorous life. And the prince takes a special interest in her, much to the outrage of the others.

Rivalry within The Selection is fierce and not all of the girls are prepared to play by the rules. But what they don’t know is that America has a secret — one which could throw the whole competition… and change her life forever.
My thanks go to Harper Collins for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.

As soon as I saw the cover of The Selection, it grabbed my attention and made me really want to pick it up. Once I did pick it up, read the blurb and saw Kiersten White's quote on the back, describing the book as a mix of  "dystopian and reality TV", I was completely sold to the idea of this story and knew that I'd have to give it a try. There are a lot of dystopian-themed books out there and some have been disappointing, just trying to follow in the footsteps of The Hunger Games. Thankfully, this book was different and just left me wanting more!

The Selection centres around Prince Maxon of Illea and his need for a Queen. A group of thirty five girls from all over Illea, of different castes (classes), are chosen to attend The Selection where Prince Maxon will choose his desired partner. The Selection is also filmed as a reality TV programme so that the country can follow it all. Our main character, America Singer, is selected as a potential Queen and we follow her as she discovers her fate.

At the beginning, we're given a rough introduction to Illea's caste system, something that I found very, very interesting. Though she isn't right at the bottom, America doesn't live a privileged life as a 'Five' and finds herself struggling. America is also having a secret relationship with Aspen, a 'Six', someone who is even further down the ladder than her and has an even more difficult time trying to live in poor circumstances. I found the start of the book to be fascinating and it really set the scene of the book. Though we don't get to learn things in detail, we are given a good idea of the state of Illea and the impact that the caste system has. Throughout the book, we do get to learn more about society and how Illea came about, though there is room for development as the series continues.

I warmed to the characters and found them endearing, although they were slightly predictable. Aspen plays a large role in this story, though he is absent for quite a significant portion of it. I found him interesting and strong and know a lot of people  will like him. Of course, Aspen isn't the only love interest though - there is Prince Maxon who America is meant to fall for and want to become his wife. I can definitely see there being split sides with readers, some being 'Team Aspen' and 'Team Maxon'! Although Maxon isn't ever completely open, unlike Aspen, he is very intriguing and does seem to have a good heart - the only trouble is America's feelings. I thought that the love triangle was engrossing and I am looking forward to seeing who America chooses in the long-run - I honestly am not sure who she will choose.

Other characters in this story include America's family who seemed quite realistic, though her mother was a bit selfish! I loved hearing about America's little sister as she was just a big bundle of energy and acted like a real little kid. It'd be interesting to see if Kota, America's older brother is mentioned again too - it seems like he is a character that has a lot of 'story' behind him. Of course, I can't forget to mention all of the girls at Maxon's palace too - I can't deny it, I loved the girlish, bitchy drama between them all! 

I will admit that there aren't many surprises in this book, but that didn't bother me in the slightest. I think there was actually a certain sense of comfort in sort of knowing the format, where it was going and just sitting back and enjoying the story without trying to criticise it too much. I am also so pleased to finally read a dystopian book that isn't just a complete bloodbath! Where there is the terror of potential attacks and also near-successful attacks on the palace, it wasn't very eventful or event-upon-event which can become overwhelming. I actually got so relaxed and engrossed that I was up into the early hours reading this one! My advice for this book is to just chill. Don't try and analyse it for imperfections or plot-holes, just enjoy the reading experience - I know I did! I'm really looking forward to book 2 which will be definitely going on my wish list.    


  1. I'm glad you got accepted for review as I never heard anything back. I have been waiting to read this book not only because of the cover n story line but also with all the controversies attached to it.

    I'm a UK blogger too and love to chat with bloggers around closer to home.

  2. The cover is awfully pretty on this one; hadn't heard of it previously.

  3. Hadn't heard of this one previously --pretty cover.

  4. I love the cover of this book. It just draws me right in! I enjoyed your review and this sounds like a great book to read over the summer. I understand what you mean when you say that there is comfort in the format and knowing what is going to happen.


  5. Hi Stephanie, I so appreciated your comment left on blogspot at bethartfromtheheart. Thanks so much....I don't know if I'm following you through GFC as it appears not to be working real well??? but I am going to follow through email at this time...thanks again!


  6. I love the cover too!

    I hope to find this one at my library. It sounds fun, even though I'm not a dystopia fan.

  7. The book sounds pretty good, and this is one of the most positive opinions of it that I've heard so far. I kind of wanted to read it because of the pretty dress but then I remembered I'm not a big fan of dystopya or Reality TV. So I'm putting off my decision to read this one or not.

    Thanks for the review.

  8. Wow, it's nice to read a positive review of this book. Yours is the first one I have seen. I'm glad you enjoyed and I think that you are completely right about not overanalyzing everything. I may have to reconsider my stance on reading this book now :)

  9. Fab review, Stephanie :) The cover of this one grabbed me too. I have seen so many mixed reviews on this one but I am so glad you enjoyed it. I will definitely be picking it up in the near future. :)

  10. I love that the social structure is given due attention right at the beginning. That is something that is very important to me and pretty much the only thing I simply cannot forgive.
    I haven't read many reviews of this book and I have to admit that I know very little about it... or had, until now, but you made it sound very interesting. Lovely review!

  11. Hi Steph, Many thanks for joining me over at Pen And Paper. A great review, this is so my kind of read. Nice to have met you, PW.

  12. I also had fun reading this book. I didn't analyse anything either, and it worked out pretty well for me! Thanks for stopping by my blog! :)

  13. I haven't read this book yet, but I really want to. It sounds great! :)
    Thanks for stopping by YA Book Season!

  14. This is exactly how I felt about it when I read it! People just need to relax. Aren't we entitled to read a book we don't have to completely scrutinise every once in awhile? Anyway, glad you enjoyed it. :)

  15. I've been meaning to read this book. Great review!

  16. Thanks for the review. I wanted to read this book, but I heard bad things about it. Now, maybe I'll read it after all!

    SIK Book Reviews

  17. I really enjoyed this book. It was just fun. And I definitely prefer Maxon over Aspen. Fingers crossed that she chooses him in The Elite!


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