Since coming home for winter break, I have found such renewed joy in reading. I know this sounds strange, especially since anyone who knows me is very conscious of my lifelong passion and love for reading. Since going to college, I haven’t read any books for fun. I’ve read a ton in general-textbooks, novels, case studies-but not the books and stories I adore. The Selection by Kiera Cass is one of my favorite books and I decided to re-read it, and finally had time to read the entire 5-book series. Let me tell you, I’m in love. Naturally I thought it would be a great time to tell you about the book and hopefully inspire you to pick it up yourself.
I’ve set myself a goal of reading 100 books in 2018! If you’d like to see some of my other 2018 goals, click here. I’m hoping to surpass this goal but we shall see 🙂 If you’d like to follow along with what I’m reading, feel free to add me on Goodreads, where I’m tracking my reading. My username is kaitlinmarks and my account can be found here.
Let’s get started!
The Selection: Goodreads Description
“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.”
The Selection: What I Loved
America Singer is the main character: a beautiful, stubborn, feisty girl who has morals of steel and loyalty beyond belief. She has so many flaws, and to me, that is what makes her so amazing. I hate when the main character is completely perfect. It leaves little room for development and makes the story so flat. America makes mistakes. She struggles with decision making, but she also is so stubborn and strong.
Prince Maxon is, of course, such a dream. He is awkward and charming and sweet. His empathy for the people of Illea and the suffering he endures in order to please his father are just overwhelming.
America’s family is so much fun. Her father is so sweet and gentle and knows just what to say; her mother is encouraging (although pushy) and wants the best for her children. Add America’s younger siblings, May and Gerad, who are so vibrant, and her family is just awesome. Even the more unfavorable members of her family add to the story in a beneficial way, demonstrating the overall strength and resilience of the lower caste members.
The other girls in The Selection, especially the ones more thoroughly developed, each have unique qualities, and some of them are just the right combination of evil that makes you love to hate them.
America goes from a girl who thinks very little of herself to someone who is able to visualize a possibility, and feel confident in her role at the palace. I found myself rooting for not only the main character, but many of the other girls as well. Knowing what happens in the rest of the books in the series, I can say that the character development is one of Cass’ strong suits. It makes her writing a joy to read, and every struggle and conflict has meaning in the long term.
The plot has twists and turns that you wouldn’t expect. Coming in, I had a small fear of this book being very shallow, and it’s not. Many of the other girls in The Selection are shallow, but that shows the clearest divisions between the castes. As the novel progresses, these barriers of being inauthentic begin to fade, and especially as the series progresses, a sisterhood of sorts begins to form, which I love.
Maxon and America’s relationship is natural in the funniest way. I love that they begin as friends, and they have moments so sweet and tender I can’t help but sigh. On the flip side, there were moments of tension and stubbornness that were so frustrating, and comedic relief that actually made me laugh.
The Selection: Overall Review
I absolutely loved The Selection. For all of its imperfections, I found that the development of characters, the romantic, charming nature of the plot, and of course, the unexpected components of the plot made it a really strong but easy read. The Selection is one of those books that you can easily sit down and read wholly at once, but it doesn’t skimp on content in order to protect ease of reading.
I fell into the world of Illea and couldn’t wait to continue the story. I think the first book will always be my favorite out of the five. Maxon and America are both such strong characters and I adore that they develop a quirky, unexpected (for them) friendship before anything romantic becomes a possibility. There are little moments throughout the story that I fell in love with, like when Maxon sends the pastries to America’s house, or takes suggestions to improve the living situations for the lower castes. The story really came to life with these moments.
Additionally, there was a really lovely focus on what it means to have power. Consequences, morality, and niches of power are main themes throughout the story. Even the powerful have weaknesses, as demonstrated in the novel. Aside from that, I found the portrayal of the girls and the royal family in the media to be intriguing. While on-camera, they are supposed to be perfection, utterly poised and in agreement with everything the king says, in reality, everyone has flaws and problems and curiosities.
Overall, I will always be a big fan of The Selection. I’ve seen many negative reviews on various sites, but I really appreciate the authenticity of the story. Plus, it’s just fun to read. Sometimes you need a fun escape book that parallels reality and has some sweet, sweet moments.