May 26, 2012

REVIEW: The Selection by Kiera Cass

Title: The Selection (The Selection #1)
Author: Kiera Cass
Publisher: HarperTeen
Published: April 24, 2012
Format: ARC* 327 pages
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.
My Review:
The Selection by Kiera Cass was definitely an enchanting read for me from the very start. I was swept away by the connection I felt with the characters, the whole Selection process and the romance that was slowly building up. Admittedly, The Selection reminded me of a cross between The Hunger Games and The Bachelor mixed with royalty, beauty and elegance. 

America Singer’s distaste for the Selection is apparent from the beginning and she wants no part in being one of the lucky thirty-five girls who will compete to win Prince Maxon’s heart and the crown to be the next princess. Being the simple Five that she is, America doesn’t want anything to do with gowns, jewelry and fame. She’s content with being a Five, singing and playing music to help her family. She’s even more happy to stay with Aspen, her first love and boyfriend, despite the fact that he is a Six and their relationship is completely forbidden and frowned upon. However, with her mother’s insistence and at Aspen’s request, America goes ahead and signs up for the Selection. America’s so sure that she won’t be picked, but she is completely surprised when her name is called as one of the Selected. Although America dreads the whole thing, she wants to continue for her family. The money she gets for being a Selected is something her family needs at the moment. More so, America is certain she won’t be staying long. But she never learns and soon enough, America starts to see that Prince Maxon is not who she thought he was and the more she spends time with him, the more she learns that this lifestyle is something she could easily fall into and be a part of.

I absolutely became smitten and adored The Selection the moment I finished the first chapter. The whole idea of The Selection had me so intrigued. I loved what Kiera Cass created within the book. The way she tied in old ways with new and modern ones was simply marveling. I’ve always been fascinated with royal families and I’ve always had this sort of longing to know what it was like to be in one. I specifically liked the way that Kiera Cass placed the people in the book. The rest of the people were set apart from the royal family, divided into a caste system of numbers. A One being considered the highest, such as the royal family, while Eight being the lowest, being a maid or servant. What I enjoyed about this was being able to learn what each caste did and how they lived their lives. It was important to see the difference between each caste and the rules in which they must abide by and I thought Kiera Cass developed this quite well. I do have to comment on the development of the world building. I was hoping there would be more insight on how the country came to be. However, I believe that because of the lack of this, more can be described in the next book since this one was more focused on the Selection itself. 

As a main character, America Singer really stood out for me. Before being Selected, I already saw the strength in America and her overall rebellion and knack for not following the rules. She thinks for herself and she’s stubborn as hell and has a temper to match. She’s really talented, being able to speak in three different languages and the fact that she can sing and play various instruments really made me love her more. After being Selected, I was amazed at how America stayed true to herself. Even with the beautiful clothes and excellent food, she doesn’t change who she is inside. America even tries to befriend the other girls despite being their competition and the some of the mean things they have to say. America doesn’t even see how beautiful and strong she is. Getting to know America and watching her go through the Selection process with the other girls made me see how perfect she would be as a princess. Her opinions and thoughts about the country when she talks with Maxon was just more evidence of her overall potential. The relationship that America had with Maxon was unusual, but so nice. I liked how they slowly became friends and then little by little they started to like each other more than that. America and Maxon just fit so well together. Their relationship is easy, satisfying and never forced. They learn to trust each other allowing America to open up to Maxon, telling him about the world outside the palace and in turn, Maxon tells her about his duties, hardships being prince and his thoughts on the state of the country. 

It’s not hard to like the other characters in the book, especially Maxon. At first, I saw him only the way America did: handsome, yet stiff and formal. As she got to know him, I did too. He may be a prince, but he’s just a normal person. He sweet and thoughtful and a complete gentleman. He’s so lovable, innocent and guarded all at the same time. Deep down, I could see that he had his own doubts about being the future king. He has fears, hopes, dreams and things he’s afraid he’ll never have no matter how much he desires them. He’s afraid he won’t be loved or that he’ll never live up to his duties and that no one will take him seriously. Maxon questions himself and his abilities. It seems like he’s this powerful and sure person, but he’s not as confident and as poised as he seems to be. He’s just a regular guy at heart. Because of this and way Maxon carries himself, I fell for him so hard. I love him so so much, I’m definitely rooting for him and America. With Aspen, I must say that I did like him as well, but I just couldn’t bring myself to love him the way I did with Maxon. Aspen is charming, a romantic and passionate person. He was also admirable and selfless, but his pride got the best of him. He’s only apparent in the beginning of book and again in the end and I think his absence ultimately hurt him in my eyes and heart. Other memorable characters was America’s cute little sister, America’s maids: Anne, Lucy and Mary, but also a few of the other Selected such as Marlee and Kriss were a few of my favorites.

Although I already knew America was going to be picked as a Selected, the anticipation I felt when she was announced burst out of me. The competition between the girls was pretty exciting and somewhat intense in some parts. Many times, I was felt America’s fear, anger, jealousness, nervousness and giddiness throughout the whole book. 

The Selection was downright amazing and brilliantly written. It’s no wonder I completely immersed myself within this book, flipping through each page without hesitancy. I really wanted to live in this world and experience what America went through. I didn’t expect to love The Selection as much as I did and I’m more than happy to have read such a lovely book. It was everything I hoped it would be and then some. There is no denying that I’ll be looking forward to more of America and her journey as a Selected in the next book to come.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

*Thanks to NYMBC (Maggie) for sending me an ARC to read. I super appreciate it. <3 :)

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  1. So glad that you loved this!! Seriously!!! I have seen some good and some ok and some not so good thoughts on this book. I mean how people felt about it but seeing that you loved it makes me want to pick it up NOW! I wanted it shamefully for the pretty cover and want to love it so your review makes it seem a little more possible! <3

    1. I was hesitant to pick this one up too because of all the mixed reviews but I was super glad I read it. It's amazing, but I do think it's those hit or miss type of books!

  2. Wow this good? cant wait to read it then! the only thing that is holding me back abit in reading this book was the "author's bad behavior" issue with Wendy Darling a blogger also. hmm not good for an pub author at all. . But Great review Jessirae glad that you loved this one! x


    1. Ah, I'm kind of glad I didn't know about the author's behavior. I may not have picked up the book otherwise! Thank you for taking the time to read my review! I really appreciate it :)

  3. Amazing review! America sounds like a great character and I love the ideas behind this book. I should be reading it soon and I'm eager to see what I make of it myself. :)

    1. Thanks so much for reading my review, Sam! You're so awesome. I loved America. She's such a lovely character. I hope that when you pick it up, you'll enjoy it as much as I did!

  4. I thought this was a great book! I enjoyed much more than I thought I would....

    Kate @ Ex Libris

  5. YES YES YES!!!' you loved it!!!' and you're a Maxon girl like me!!!! <3 I do love Aspen but Maxon more. Wooooot <3


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