‘The Selection’: A YA Dystopia Faces Courage in a Love Story. A YA book review of Kiera Cass' popular dystopian. All review text (unless noted) © Rissi JC

‘The Selection’: A YA Dystopia Faces Courage in a Love Story

July 13, 2012 Rissi JC 21 Comments

Reading young adult or teen fiction is really not where my interest in books is – or so I thought. In recent years, my bookshelf is filling with more secular fiction. I don’t think I can say what drew me to read this one save for the cover art was probably what caught my eye (isn’t it captivating?). Then the story sounded intriguing. Touted as being another version of The Hunger Games, this revolves around a strong-willed female protagonist who lives by a set of rules in a world that separates the social classes.

I hope you find something you can’t live without. I really do. And I hope you never have to know what it’s like to have to try and live without them.” – Kiera Cass, The Selection

American Singer works to help provide for her “Five” family but her one mistake may be falling in love with a “Six.” And, then she receives the royal invitation to take part in The Selection. Her mother is delighted, America isn’t. Fighting off the idea of becoming one of “them,” she rebels against being carted off to the palace Is it logical to accept… or will an acceptance break hearts?

The Selection by Kiera Cass | Book Review

Most of you probably know that I did read The Hunger Games earlier this year. I didn’t hate it but I also did not understand its draw. Just a mere twenty pages into The Selection, and already I’m far more enamored with this story than by Collins’ bestseller. Not only is the story more compelling but it also boasts a passionate heroine. Does she fall into some of the clichés of teenagers with an attitude? Absolutely! But at least, she takes action! (The more I think about it, the more I realize Katniss had the personality of a wooden pole. Sorry, fans) America is far from perfect and is sometimes downright annoying but above all, at least she reacts. She cries and has fits of anger instead of nothing.

What draws me to this story is how it aspires to be one thing – a coming-of-age story but winds up being oh-so-much more. It is a mixture of a fairy-tale (a little bit Cinderella with a smidgen of The Bachelor), an adventure (not in the usual method) and the cherry on top, futuristic. Some may be bothered that this takes place post-America. Although dystopian stories are not new to the world of fiction, this one isn’t just set in such a world, it actually makes reference to the world “before.” To read about our Country in a past tense – as if someday, everything we are proud to be a part of, proud about in our heritage, could be wiped away.

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Cass’ writing is rich in romantics and a love triangle that shouldn’t be such a dilemma. Like THG, this includes a boy from home vs. the wealthy prince. Although, this story doesn’t put such a battle in America’s heart. Her internal struggle is not new but it seems genuine given the material. She had a choice to make: do right by her family and pursue a dream or put on hold everything she knows to give wings to her mother’s dream. For anyone who had reservations about HG’s propensity to force teenagers to kill one another for their survival, I loved that this one wasn’t a dictator nation in the same sense. The Selection was by choice and though there are times when America alludes to it being wise to partake in events, the people have options. That was perhaps the best thing about this book.

The Selection is an exquisite fairytale that will delight teen readers who are fans of fairytale re-tellings that though not flawless leaves us breathless for the sequel, The Elite.

Fun Fact: CW is currently developing a television series based on this material. Can I just say that I am beyond excited about it? The cast list includes Aimee Teegarden and William Moseley, who is set to play Aspen but would be better suit Maxon. But then, perhaps that is my biased opinion after seeing him once in a royal role as King Peter.

The Selection

About the Book:

(Disclosure: this post does contain affiliate links; if you buy anything through these links, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. Thank you to anyone who makes a purchase through these links. Read the disclosure page for details.)

Author: Kiera Cass
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: 2012
Find the Book Elsewhere: Amazon | 5-Book ‘Selection’ Set (on Amazon) | Goodreads
Series: The Selection, Book 1
Genre: Fiction; Teen/YA, Fantasy, Dystopian
Rating: ★★★★

CONTENT: Though not explicit, America and her boyfriend “mess around.” She always references that they are “careful”; they cannot go too far lest it result in pregnancy. There are minor expletives though rare: da*n, he*l.

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.

Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.

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  • Katie McCurdy July 13, 2012 at 4:01 PM

    Great review, Rissi! I'm glad to see that you liked this book. I didn't end up being all that crazy about it, but I *did* enjoy the book as a one-time read. I really liked Aspen!! :-)

    Btw, I love the little "What to Know" that you include at the end of your review. Awesome idea, and so thorough! :-D

  • Rissi July 13, 2012 at 6:54 PM

    I liked this one a great deal more than The Hunger Games which was used to describe this one. It has more of a fairy-tale quality, something I – of course, loved. :-)

    Here again we have Aspen vs. Maxon. Right now… I prefer Maxon because he is so sweet towards America – loving BUT if the show goes through my alliance may shift to Aspen because I love William. ;-)

    I think I'll read this more than once (if ever I shave down the number of books currently in my TBR pile! LOL!) and I will certainly be on the lookout for the sequel.

    Thanks! I know there are lots of readers who want to know what is "bad" in books, so unless it is a Christian novel, I try and add that on the end.

    So glad you stopped by – always enjoy chatting with you. :-)

  • Amber S. July 13, 2012 at 8:35 PM

    Thanks for the review! This book seems to keep popping up in the blogosphere, and I confess that the cover really is quite lovely/intriguing!! :)


  • Rachel Hipps July 13, 2012 at 10:32 PM

    I may have to check this one out! :)

  • Ella July 14, 2012 at 1:55 AM

    I am totally excited to read this one =) It is on my waiting list at the library….the fact that it was touted as "The Hunger Games" meets "The Bachelor" totally piques my interest =)

    Oh, about the comment you left on my blog, I own pretty much all of the ones you mentioned–except I would love the first two in the Above the Line series. See, I plan on owning all of her books =) Why don't you comment on my blog with your e-mail address so I can get in touch with you (I won't publish it and besides, I would like to have it for personal use =D)

  • Rissi July 14, 2012 at 3:22 AM

    Amber – really!? I don't think I've seen it on any of the book-y blogs I follow but then I think I follow mainly Christian review sites. Perhaps I shall have to go in search of some good secular fiction review blogs. :-)

    I really enjoyed this one! I hope you do also if you decide to read it! And, yep, the cover is stunning!

    So glad you stopped by, Amber!

    Rachel – you really should! I thought it was… enchanting.

    Ella – cool! I hope you enjoy it once it comes in. I thought it was ten times better than HG. Partly because it was more of a fairy-tale (did you know how much I like those? LOL!) and partly because America was more of a heroine than Katniss will ever be.

    I have mixed emotions about Karen's novels. I loved her Bailey series and thoroughly enjoyed the 9/11 books but… beyond that, I am just not sure! I had every intention of reading the other ones I either bought or were given but I just don't see myself trudging through them. It almost feels as if she is "afraid" of giving her characters a happy ending. I am all for realism in fiction but she seems to, time and again put tragedy in the path of her characters and I don't know how well I like that. :-/

    Sure… off to visit your blog next! :-)

  • birdienl July 20, 2012 at 9:32 AM

    Hmm, this sounds really interesting. I've never thought I'd be into teen fiction either, but the HG has drawn me into it and if I read good reviews I'm open to trying others as well. But, my library doesn't have it (no surprises), so I'll put it on my Amazon wishlist. Maybe one day…

  • Rissi July 20, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    I know what you mean – teen fiction just never appealed to me! Then I read Alex Flinn and loved her books. Naturally, that transitioned into some other authors/books and now, I've found that I really enjoy it. :-)

    Oooh! I am sorry about your library not having this one – I hope you do get a hold of a copy and enjoy it! I really liked it and another blogger thought it sounded reminiscent of Esther's story. Looking back, I can see reflections of that but most of all, I thought it resembled "Games" – and I liked this one a great deal more!

  • Jana Leah B January 21, 2018 at 3:14 AM

    This is a series that I've been wanting to start for awhile. And yes the covers are so pretty.

    • Rissi January 25, 2018 at 12:31 AM

      They are indeed, Jana. They're the kind of covers I see and then instantly think the book MUST be on my shelf… because they're that pretty. :) Hope you enjoy if/when you read this one.

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