When I picked up The Selection by Kiera Cass (336 pages), it was exactly what I needed at the time: something fluffy and light. Plus, look at that cover with the pretty, pretty dresses. Yep. Just what I needed.
Basic plot: the prince is having a contest (run reality TV style) to find his next bride. Sort of like Cinderella crossed with The Bachelor. The POV character, America, is chosen, but she has a boyfriend back home so she is none too happy about it–except being one of the selected means her family gets compensated and it changes their lives.
What I Liked
– I loved the romance between America and Maxon. I loved how they get to know each other and find ways to break rules within the game to spend more and more time together. Mostly, I liked that they build a friendship (especially because America insists she could never, ever love Maxon what with her true love Aspen back home) and create an alliance to keep her in the game.
– America’s sister is pretty great.
– America’s relationship with her maids.
– Maxon. What a great dude. Swoonworthy BECAUSE he is so kind and thoughtful and open to learning what his subjects experience.
– I loved the set up of how/why America was chosen. Totally believable.
What I Didn’t Like
– I don’t get why this has to be a dystopian thing. Just…why? I think the conceit of the novel (a contest to pick the prince’s next bride) works on its own without the other extraneous rebels and blah blah stuff I care nothing about. I mean, sure, okay, the caste system sets up the whole dumb Aspen pride thing and that Maxon cares about the people. Fine. The backdrop of the war shows why diplomacy in picking the next bride counts. Fine, but not really necessary. Politics are politics, yes? But there was a whole lot of other stuff that just made me roll my eyes and took me out of enjoying the fact that THE PRINCE USES A REALITY TV CONTEST TO PICK HIS BRIDE. Doesn’t that already have high enough stakes? Isn’t that enough?
I would’ve liked the book more without the other stuff is what I’m saying. Because it’s about a prince that uses a reality TV contest to pick his bride.
– Aspen is THE WORST. Ugh. The fact that he’s even a viable love interest makes me want to set things on fire. Am I supposed to be torn between Aspen and Maxon? Because no. No contest. None whatsoever.
– Her name is America Singer. Is her middle name Liberty or did I just make that up? Because, wow, cheesy. And I love a good corny name, but still. (Did I mention her family are all performers? I like that it’s a callback to when people’s last names and professions matched, though. So maybe file that under Goofy Things about the Novel.)
– Seriously, though, Aspen sucks so hard.
– SO HARD.
– Like, I am genuinely concerned that teen girls out there may think he’s awesome and that depresses me. Because he is the worst. In case that wasn’t clear.
In conclusion: A fun romance with an interesting premise. Too bad about the distracting dystopian elements, though.