Format: ARC (Edelweiss)
Release Date: April 24, 2012
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.
First of all I ADORE the cover, that alone is the reason why I would pick this book up.
As for the story, all I could think of are cliches and I'm not sure if that's a good or a bad thing. There were a lot of elements that were all too familiar that its originality escaped me. But was I entertained? Immensely! The same way I am entertained and follow The Real Housewives franchise.
Don't laugh but THE SELECTION to me is like a fairy tale version of The Bachelor meets the Hunger Games. Thirty-five girls are living with the Prince in the Palace and they are all competing for his proposal minus the hot tubs and gross make out sessions. The Caste system reminds me too much of the districts in Panem where majority of the citizens are poor and hungry. The pre-presentation makeovers was reminiscent of America's Next Top Model. And of course a poor girl meets a rich Prince is Cinderella right? That's The Selection in a nutshell.
That being said, the story is where it's supposed to be but the problem was it didn't move. The character development was weak, America, Maxon &
Ansel Aspen are one dimensional which is a little baffling because the series of events would force a person to do a 180 and not remain in stasis. Sure the characteristics of the leads are defined but aside from uprooting America and Aspen from the comforts of their castes, they remained the same. The seeds for "forcible" maturity came towards the end with the purpose of building on it in book two I guess but it failed to resonate with me because it was done a little too late.
The love triangle is what you'd expect in a YA read, relationships overlap and nobody really knows what one wants. America is your typical teenager, easily swayed by her emotions and a little indecisive about her choices. I found America's shady behavior with
Ansel Aspen and passive-aggressiveness towards Prince Maxon annoying. Let's move forward from Bella Swan please!
I ended up psychoanalyzing her, questioning her motives but at the same time she's a teenager so of course she wouldn't know any better. She speaks her mind, she fights back but these qualities doesn't make her a strong heroine in my book. Again these all points towards her character development. She's not doing anything outside her nature, if anything her virtues are just being highlighted against her other competitors in The Selection, making her the obvious choice for the Prince, nothing else. There's no depth or strength, her empathy and the friendship she offers the other thirty-four girls stems not from a gracious heart but from a different motive.
For 20 out of 25 chapters, KCass focused on THE SELECTION, the gowns, the pomp and circumstance, the rivalry among the ladies, the connection between Prince Maxon and America. It's like a pageant and not an emotional journey. The political conflict was hinted upon on the first parts of the story but it was dismissed which dulled its intended impact in the greater scheme of things. There's no graduation of events, no discernible development of any threats outside The Selection that would hint on something "impending" like a change in behavior from the Palace staff, the King or Queen or even Prince Maxon's demeanor. So the last 5 chapters to me felt like a haphazardly packed suitcase where all these arcs are squeezed in to prep us for the next book.
I'm guessing that book two will be about war and how Prince Maxon's political skills are to be tested and how graceful America and the rest of the ladies can cope with a trying situation. Will I pick up the book? Probably but I won't be anxiously waiting for it.
Alternative review available on Goodreads