Book Review: The Selection by Kiera Cass

The Elite, the sequel to The Selection by Kiera Cass releases today! This week, I read The Selection and the e-novella, The Prince so I would be caught up for The Elite. I have mixed feelings about The Selection but overall, I did enjoy it & I can’t wait to read the sequel this weekend. Read on for my review!

The Selection by Kiera Cass
Release Date: April 24, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult Romance
ISBN: 978-0062059932
Source: Bought
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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 a palace and compete for the heart of 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.

Before I go into my review, I want to mention that I followed Kiera on Twitter and watched most of her YouTube videos long before I read The Selection to get a feel for her voice before adding her book to my TBR list. I don’t always do this but you’ll understand why I did in a minute. While reading The Selection, one of her videos in particular came to mind. If you watch this before you read The Selection, you’re golden. If not, there’s a chance you’ll be kind of mad. This video hits two birds, one being doubt, two being a disclaimer for what you’ll be getting yourself into when you open up The Selection.

Okay. So…I don’t read a lot of mac n’ cheese so that’s why it took me so long to read this book in the first place. It typically would not have made it on my TBR list period but I heard good things about it so I decided to scope out the playing field first. I found that I love Kiera’s energy, attitude, and her voice, so then I became very open to taking a chance on reading her book. And what better a time to read it then right before the release of the sequel?

Now, Kiera Cass has said before in a live stream that she is a better storyteller than she is a writer and I agree. She is a wonderful storyteller. I mean, I read this book in one sitting, the story is obviously very good! As for the execution…well, the quality of the writing is not at all what I expected it to be. I guess every now and then a good story trumps the writing? That’s what it appears to be here and if you can accept that (and the fact that as a storyTELLER there is more telling than showing), you can enjoy this book. As a writer, this book stresses me out but as a reader, I am comfortable saying that less was not more here, it was less and we needed more.

In the first few pages it’s clear that the writing style is as simple as simple can be and this is definitely for younger audiences as well as people who love a good romance/love triangle. But but but, as far as the love triangle goes, it holds weight for the story that is being told here and it comes, quickly dries out, and towards the end comes back to life. So the love triangle doesn’t overpower the story which I loved…and is it really a love triangle? I feel like it’s obvious who she’ll end up with. But does that not make it a love triangle anymore? Hmm. Anyway, I loved the struggle America has with both Aspen and Maxon but I love the struggle that she has with herself because that’s the most important struggle here when it comes down to it.

Less is also less in terms of worldbuilding. Don’t bring in certain elements and not flesh out the world building. That just makes me want to go, “Really?” I loved, loved, loved what she set up but boy did I want and need more. Side note, this book is not a dystopian. A futuristic book with a caste system, mention of wars, and rebels thrown in here and there does not make it a dystopian. A few dystopian like elements in a book does not make a book dystopian. “Dystopian” gets tossed around so carelessly nowadays. Ugh. Moving on…I really think that everything in this book could have had more layers and been an even heartier mac n’ cheese but for what was delivered… as the book goes on, it does get easier to ignore what’s lacking and just get swept up in the story.

I loved the characters (not most of the characters’ names though, far too many odd names for one book, especially since it’s not a fantasy). I loved the competition and the tension and wish we got to know more of the competitors. I can only hope she’s saving that juicy goodness for The Elite. That said, if you aren’t a fan of reality TV shows, there are some elements in here that might make you roll your eyes. I don’t watch a lot of reality TV but I watch enough to be able to enjoy this ride. I also loved being at America’s home and her being in Maxon’s.

When it comes down to it, writing aside, I loved this story. It was so light and so much fun to read. It was so entertaining. It was just what I needed to pick up. I didn’t love the ending because it wasn’t even a cliffhanger, it simply wasn’t a natural ending point so that was really awkward. Like “That was it? Okay….” One of those endings. But when I was finished reading this book, I had a smile on my face. For all that this book was lacking, I still found myself addicted to the story and I can’t wait to read The Elite. If you need a quick pick me up, this is the book for you. I think this would also make a great summer read, so be sure to get The Selection, The Prince, and The Elite as your road trip reads, beach reads, or reads on a nice summer day in your backyard or in your room with the blinds up and an ice cold lemonade. Because that’s what this book is, it’s just that sweet.

The Selection by Kiera Cass is available now. The e-novella, The Prince is also available. The Elite releases in stores today.