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ARC Review: The Selection

my thoughts in a few sentences: Peeps, The Selection by Kiera Cass so rocked my heart! Surprised? I was too. After all, there are only so many negative reviews you can take before you start to get worried. But you know what worked? Going with the flow, going in with no expectations. I figured, 'Asher, let’s not go into this book expecting some hardcore dystopian book with ALL THE CRAZY.' Besides, I wanted a love story. And, at The Selection’s core, that’s EXACTLY what I got, and I basked in it, burrowing into the promise of new love while dutifully, though miserably, resisting the temptation of love nearly lost. It also does help that the characters grew on me, The Selection part is coolness; and the tide of the story had me digging right in.

hooking first lines: " When we got the letter in the post, my mother was ecstatic. She had already decided that all our problems were solved, gone forever."

HarperTeen • E-ARC Request • Dystomance • 4/24/12 • $13.53

The Selection by Kiera Cass

For 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 the palace and compete for the heart of the 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.
On a serious note, I adored The Selection by Kiera Cass. The story Cass tells is unconsciously magnetic, unexpectedly so. My attention gravitated to this interesting world of classed citizens and a young girl full of deliciously romantic and almost-there fantasies for her future and the prince who eagerly hopes to make a Love Connection and take a wife while still maintaining honor and respect—of himself and the girls who come to join the party, so to speak.

These characters are named WHAT now?

Our main character is America Singer and I just love that ridiculous name, because Cass gives an explanation I can enjoy and while I have yet to see the girl totally grow into what her name represents, I can see potential for the fire I expect later events in the series will coax and set ablaze. America is slow and thorough in her realizations, but she’s honest and as up-front with herself as she can possibly be while wading through her confusing and angsty feelings. That honesty I appreciated, because the last thing she wants to do is lead anyone on—friend, love interest, anyone. There are no cringe-worthy lies or pages and pages of doubt-filled text, which was refreshing.

Aspen, Maxon. Maxon, Aspen. Cass quickly, despite what we are well-aware is bound to happen, manages to spin this intoxicating and alluring dream of what Aspen and America’s future could be like. The whims of the young girl’s heart and her na├»ve hope that love will conquer all—even poverty—have us willing to believe that Aspen and America can and will be the happy poor couple still deeply in love despite their circumstances. And then those dreams are rudely ripped away and we’re into The Selection and suddenly Prince Maxon is looking like a delectable escape from the anguish. Back to America’s honesty, she is nothing but forthcoming with this handsome, adorably awkward prince hoping, like her, that love will come along and endure any future chaos, and, unexpectedly, a swift friendship forms full of secrets and advice-swapping and startling romantic sparks that shouldn’t have any place in America’s still-mending heart.

Oh, the tragedies of the heart… Is there a romance here?

One would think a love triangle would be obvious here, but… Who am I kidding? There IS no but. This love triangle between Maxon and America and Aspen is destined to bring pain and scars, because the two guys who come to mean so much to her are both genuinely good guys, both worthy and beautiful choices in their own ways.

Aspen’s worries and sorrows are shattering and real and honest, because how can a marriage between two differently classed citizens work out and survive the overwhelming and consuming poverty sure to weigh them down? His family is already suffering, and his responsibilities are endless and burdensome being the only remaining male to take them up on his deeply weary person. He loves America, wants to be selfish and hold on, but, at the same time, how can he bring that kind of hopeless life to someone he loves when he can choose differently?

But selflessness can prove tragic and wrenching because his doubts lead America right into The Selection, and, eventually, encourages her sinking into the competition, because how can she face the man who turned her away and smashed her lovely crystalline dreams? Reluctance does nothing to discourage the girls from rudeness and suspicion, and doesn’t hold her back from becoming involved with Prince Maxon. What starts out as a sweet friendship, in which comfort, secrets, little quirky details, and tenderness layer their connection, leisurely turns into something more despite the urgency of Maxon’s decision-making. Maxon develops an advantage, because although it’s easy to fall for Aspen, we get to know Maxon and all his endearing qualities and experience his relationship with America as it grows.

Is this REALLY a dystopian?

This is a light dystopian. And people have been saying that and it may be irritating others because the definition is elusive. The Selection by Kiera Cass has touches of dystopian in the caste system and its effects on the citizens, and in the rebellion that’s attacking with a vengeance those who uphold that system.

Really, though, The Selection by Kiera Cass is more about the actual Selection than anything else, and the budding romance that develops as a result. The TV show, the 35 girls in the competition… it takes on more of a charming Cinderella-type themed story. What if Cinderella’s Prince, instead of dancing with a bunch of women looking for his bride, took part in a competition in search of her? These girls are NOT mandated to go and be part of the competition, and can indeed decide. There really isn’t a resemblance to The Hunger Games. This isn’t a hardcore dystopian. This is a dystomance fairy tale retelling hybrid that is way more appealing, and isn’t so much fluff, because the emotion is there, dark and deep, but The Selection by Kiera Cass is fun in a way and almost cheerful. All the women are treated like princesses and so there are lot of fabulous dresses, parties, and other entertaining things amidst so the story is exciting in a girly sort of way.

So I, like, totally loved this story?

I didn’t quite love this story, but adoring a book is one step under. It’s the kind of awesomeness that inspires grins and snickers and some SERIOUS mushiness. The Selection by Kiera Cass is full of tender moments and characters that incite attachments. With The Selection nearly over but not quite, it’s hard to contain my anticipation of what turns could possibly twist up the next story. Engaging, enjoyable, and fun, The Selection by Kiera Cass is a delightful relief.

Rating: Perfect Bed Partner
Looking for books with a similar feel, try checking out:

Got something specific in mind? Dare I believe I might NOT have covered something you wish to know? If so, let me know down in the comments section. Don't be shy!


Tiffany said...

I enjoyed this one quite a bit. I agree that both Aspen and Maxon are genuinely nice, I'm leaning a bit more toward Aspen though. I thought the whole idea of the Selection was interesting and unique. I can't wait to see what happens in the next book. Great review :)

Sonia said...

THIS SOUNDS SO GOOD. And I have to say, you have me reaaaally curious about the explanation of America's name because dude, what is up with that? America Singer AND SHE SINGS? I know everyone is kind of amused by it but... really :P

I love that both of the guys here are genuinely nice! That should be refreshing to read about, especially in a story that focuses heavily on the love story. 

And LOVE this: "dystomance fairy tale retelling hybrid" - YES PLEASE!

Can't wait to get this book and start ENJOYING! I'm glad I know not to go in expecting hardcore dystopia and I'm assuming that's a big part of the reason so many people were disappointed.

Kim said...

Oh my gosh, you've completely convinced me to go out and get this pronto! I was actually on the fence about reading it due to all that drama a while back but wow, you make it sound so AMAZING! The love-triangle sounds surprisingly interesting and I already know I'm going to have a hard time choosing which team I'm for. Plus you compared it to Cinder! That itself has me wishing it was on my shelf right now haha :) Fantastic review!

Celine @ Forget-Me-Not said...

EEEEEEEEEE! I'm so excited to read this book now after reading your review despite the mixed reviews I've been reading about this book. I thought the character's name was really interesting so I can't wait to read this book!

Awesome review, Asher! <3 Glad you enjoyed it!

Caroline Taylor078 said...

I can't wait for this book, its been one of my most wanted books for a while, the cover is delicious! Its nice to see a positive review, I am quite confident I'll love it!

Ezmirelda Demetri said...

Okay so this book has been sitting on my desk for quite awhile now. I honestly don't mind love triangles if they're done the right way. I'm really looking forward to reading this once I knock out a few others on my to-reads list, AP exams (AHH I hate thinking about them! XD) are fast approaching so I'm trying to cram as much reading + blogging time in before I go on study lockdown.  I wasn't expecting the dystopian elements to be a main thing in this novel, I think the light touches of dystopian suits it more though. Excellent review as always Asher! :)

Now off to watch Legend of Korra, I'm actually awake now so I can watch it ontime.

Asher Knight said...

It was SO enjoyable, mostly because I was having fun dining with princesses-to-be and talking with Maxon and learning more about America. I had BOATLOADS of fun with this one, and honestly? I couldn't stop GRINNING MY FACE OFF. The Selection part was just coolness, I liked the concept and the girls never REALLY made fools of themselves. This is dignified speed dating, really :D I'm so excited for what turns the series'll take!

Asher Knight said...

It's not the most MONUMENTAL thing, but there IS a reason and one that satisfied because I though, 'Hey, that's pretty neat,' and I like how it has to do with the history of the world she lives in. It is a pretty funny name.

Aspen is the dark to Maxon's light in a very subtle way, where it's not so obvious. It's not really bad boy vs. nice guy, it's just Aspen has had a rough life and Maxon has lived in a palace all his life, despite the harsh things he has to deal with as far as war and politics. There's just a difference, living between a life of luxury and otherwise, that can add to a person's personality, you know? They both have their flaws, and both are great all-around underneath their ridiculously handsome surfaces (at least they're handsome in my head). :D

 "And LOVE this: "dystomance fairy tale retelling hybrid" - YES PLEASE!" WHICH IS WHY I LOVED IT.

I think that's why some people were disappointed as well. Some people don't seem to like the characters, but for me? They are easy to fall for.

Asher Knight said...

I HOPE YOU LOVE IT. And if you don't? JUST THINK, that BEAUTIFUL cover will be gracing your shelves anyway. For me, drama doesn't really effect my take on the book just makes me wary of the people who helped produce it. But the story is good, not rich and deep and meaningful, at least not yet, but it's solid fun and enjoyable and exciting, with deeper emotions under the surface. I really liked that about it.

The comparison to Cinder just had to do with it reminding me of Cinderella and somewhat of Cinder. I don't know if there's any resemblance, but that's the first book that popped into my head, when I was picking out similar ones ;)  Thanks, Kim <33 Hope you heart it!

Asher Knight said...

 It's really fun and exciting, and I had no trouble enjoying it at all. There were a few slow parts but nothing to deter you. I just liked the direction of the book, the Who of the characters, and actual Selection aspects. I hope you enjoy it too!!

Asher Knight said...

 I was hesitant to start this because of mixed reviews, but I read TWO good ones and that was all it took to break my resistance. SO HAPPY I eventually listened to my gut. I hope you love it too! :D

Asher Knight said...

It's a fun read. I feel like I keep saying that, BUT IT'S TRUE. If you go with the flow and remove any preconceptions, it's possible to just have fun with it and grow excited as America meets THE PRINCE, gets to know some of the other girls, and just the general gist of it. I liked the lightness of the dystopian despite my liking hardcore ones as well. I thought The Selection was really well done.

AND YEAH, bro. THE LEGEND OF KORRA was awesome, AGAIN, this week. Despite that little bish who's trying to steal Mako. She seems nice, but I smell fish. And besides it's MAKO + KORRA, 4eva ;DD 

Liz. R said...

I keep seeing mixed reviews for this one! I'm glad you enjoyed it. I think I'm definitely interested in the romance aspect the most - Apsen and Maxon both sound like complex and intriguing characters! Great review, really excited to read it. Thanks for clearing up the dystopian thing too - I would have gone into it thinking it'd be something completely different had I not read this review!

Also, just want to comment about The Legend of Korra as well...Mako. I am disappointed in him, falling so easily just for a pretty face. He needs to realise how amazingly awesome Korra is and that Asami can't compare. She might be rich, but eh! :P. I'm annoyed that she's so nice. I want her to secretly be an evil spy so I feel justified in disliking her :P. Makorra forever! :D

Ezmirelda Demetri said...

Yeah, the new girl has BAD written all over her.

Urgh! I wanted Mako X Korra too but maybe it's a little to early for that (they approved this series for TWO seasons because The Last Airbender did so well). Korra will get Mako eventually, and I have a feeling it'll be even more beautiful once they've become super close like Katara and Aang were. ;)

Steph said...

I am so glad you ended up loving this one so much! As you know, I had my issues with it and I wish I had been able to wipe away all my expectations before I read it, but alas...that did not happen and I ended up feeling kinda iffy. Still, there was still plenty to enjoy and I'm glad you found it in its contents!

Asher Knight said...

 My theory is that she is a spy of some sort or she's going to try to control him now that her dad's sponsoring the team. Or  maybe WHEN he breaks up with her, she'll throw that in his face.

A LITTLE TOO EARLY. It's ALREADY been a handful of episodes! XD But I dig your meaning.

Asher Knight said...

 I've been advising everyone to just, you know, go with the flow, FREE YOUR MIND. Don't let expectations weigh you down and just enjoy it for the charming romance that it is and see what happens.

RIIIGHT? I was, like, Mako, WAY to play into Typical Male Behavior, bro. *shaking my head* KORRA CAN'T COMPARE. She is the epitome of awesome. Already ticking off the days until Saturday ;)

Asher Knight said...

 I TOTALLY DID. Yeah, I saw that you weren't too fond of it but you didn't hate it either, which is something. Gives Maxon time to make you fall for him. I think that's where I'm leaning ;)

Rebecca (Kindle Fever) said...

Yay, I'm glad you loved it too! I went in trying not to expect too much either after all the negatives and I agree that it definitely worked! And about the Dystopia aspect, it does feel like it could dig into that a bit more as the series continue with the whole rebellion thing... I'm definitely curious about where the series will take us and it is a wonderful love story--something I wanted as well when I picked it up! Great review. :D

Asher Knight said...

EXACTLY. I think once most people just go in blind, they will definitely have a lot of good things to say by the end. I'm SO IN WONDER over where Cass is going to take the series. I have so many ideas, but I don't know if they're anywhere near right. THANKS, REBECCA <33

Sarah (saz101) said...

ASHER! I've had your review open in my browser for DAYS, meaning to comment, and HAKAFJKLF! I'm seriously intrigued by The Selection... I'm hearing such mixed things, but the bad seems to be coming from missed expectations? I'm so excited to read it, and so glad you LIKED, even if you didn't LOVE :)

Harley Bear said...

I really liked this book too!  I had read a lot of the bad reviews before also, but I went into it much like you with an open mind.  And I'm glad I did!  I can't wait for the CW series and of course the second book.  Here's my review if you're interested.  I compared it to Pride & Prejudice, Hunger Games, and of course The Bachelor.

Asher Knight said...

 I KNOW WHAT THAT'S LIKE. I sometimes open so many tabs that I have to close out my browser and start all over again. *lol* The Selection has been getting mixed praise but I feel like it's because people are going into it for one reason as opposed to another, more true one, EXACTLY. I hope YOU LIKE IT TOO. ;D

Asher Knight said...

 YES. The trick is to go with the flow, you know. I'm a little scared of the CW series, since they traumatized me with how The Secret Circle is going. I had to stop watching because it got to be too terrible.

I'm totally inclined to go for Maxon, but, dayuuum, Aspen is such a great choice too. SO HARD.