Tuesday 19 June 2012

Review: The Selection by Keira Cass

The Selection by Kiera Cass

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Source: Audiobook

Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.

I really enjoyed The Selection for it's fun and originality. It's like a futuristic Cinderella with elements of reality television.

It is set in a society where your place in life is determined by your social status or caste. Everyone is a number based on rank, and this restricts who can marry, and what kinds of jobs you can do. The Selection, to choose a new queen, could only occur once a generation. The royal prince will choose a bride from out of the general population, so for many girls it is the only chance they have to leave the caste they were born into.

America is probably the only eligible girl who doesn't want to picked for the selection, but is coerced into it by her ambitious mother. When she accidentally finds herself one of the shortlisted girls sent to live at the palace, she decides to come clean to the Prince- admit that she's there by mistake, and offers to be an ally- giving him the inside scoop on the other girls, and spying on the gossip.

America is really only there to make the best of the situation she is in, the break from her hard-working normal life, and to enjoy the good food, but her attitude and honesty is so refreshing to the prince, that he comes to really enjoy her easy company and to value her friendship.

This book has (rather unfairly) been compared to The Hunger Games. While there are a few similarities in some ways, It isn't a thing like this book really.

Similarities to The Hunger Games

  • The dystopian setting.
  • The fact that the main character comes from a poor background and already has a secret boyfriend back home.
  • The fact that the whole thing is televised to a nation that is impoverished. That people are actually numbered by class.
  • The dressing up in new elegant dresses, the interviews.
  • The need to  "put on a show".
  • The elimination of characters one by one- there can only be one winner.
  • The main character is acting a greater degree of romance than she feels to help her survive the contest. She is still unsure of her true feelings.

I don't know at the moment if I am Team Aspen because they have such a history together, and a real sense of belonging together-  or if I am Team Maxon because I loved his genuine down-to-earth personality. He has a real ease and friendliness with everybody, and a real determination to do the right thing and to be the best that he can be. He is a real gentleman and so sweet.

America is a great character who is stubborn and determined to do things her own way- even if she's breaking the rules. She is very clever, manipulating her mother, but also earns the respect of the girls at the palace by her brilliant playing of music. She earns the respect of the maids in the palace by treating them like valued human beings, and she earns Maxim's respect with her honest and un-fake character. Ultimately, I really feel for America and the choice that she has to make.

I enjoyed the harsh world of the book, with a hint of a war outside, and a rebellion- but especially America's new life within the palace, learning new rules and codes of conduct. She finds that even with rich food, and luxurious surroundings they are in constant danger of attack, and life in the palace is not an easy life. She starts to appreciate exactly what Maxim has to deal with on a daily basis.

I also really liked the relationship between the girls. Some of them form a real bond, and feel that they will be sisters forever no matter what happens, but there is also some bitchiness and back-stabbing between the girls. Some of the girls also seem more interested in winning the crown than in winning Prince Maxon.

This was such a sweet, but emotional read. I loved it, but I have taken off a star because of the incredibly unsatisfying  unresolved ending. This was very frustrating to me, but the bulk of the book moved at a good pace, and kept me desperate to read more to see what would happen next. I especially liked the development of America's friendship with Maxon, born out of unusual circumstances, and America's stubborn character.


  1. I've heard a lot about this book. I'd like to read it, but I think I want to borrow it from a friend. I wish it wasn't in hardcover! LOL

    Great review :D


  2. I also didn't like the ending because if doesn't have a cliffhanger, it was too sudden for me. But well, there is a sequel so I guess it's normal to have somethings unresolved. I'm Team Maxon! Or maybe a litte bit Team Aspen..it's so hard to decide! I don't envy America the job to decide between the two of them :)

    Great review!

    Rachel @ Books to Consider


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