Book Review: "The Selection" by Kiera Cass

In 2018 I wrote a post about books I`m no longer interested in reading, and this made the cut. Since then, I`ve somewhat changed my mind and decided to read the first book in the most popular YA series. Whilst I know what I like and don`t like in a novel, there are always surprises. And I don`t want to miss on something just because I think it will be bad. Surprisingly, this book wasn`t as bad as I thought it will be. Obviously, not a masterpiece, but more of a guilty-pleasure read.

"The Selection" is often described as "The Bachelor" meets "The Hunger Games", which is partly true. I can definitely see The Bachelor, with 35 girls competing to win the heart of the prince. But just because it`s a dystopia, and it has a female protagonist doesn`t bring it anyway close to the masterpiece that is "The Hunger Games". But more on that later.

The Selection takes part in a dystopian America, destroyed by the Third World War. The country was renamed Illea, and the population divided into castes based on their profession. Nothing new here, but then we also don`t get any world-building. We`re told about the war with China and Russia, some chatting about the rebel attacks, and that`s it. But as a reader I want to know why they went with the caste system, why are the rebels attacking, etc. Also, although many are poor, they`re not dying of hunger. America says that her family isn`t that wealthy, but we have people on benefits that struggle more than her family. Seriously, nowadays many Americans have it worse than the people of this fictional America. 

As far as the characters go, I`m not impressed. First of all, America Singer is a silly name. But as you keep reading, you realise that she`s as silly as her name. She`s one of those girls that is considered pretty by everyone else, but she thinks she`s plain. Yawn! Obviously, she`s very judgemental with the other girls, and everyone that wears makeup is shallow. Also, what`s so terrible about being stuck in a palace, where you get to eat fancy food and wear gorgeous dresses? She complains too much.

Obviously, our plain Mary Sue has two male suitors. First, we have Aspen, the boyfriend that dumps her because he can`t provide for her. I don`t really get the hate, he`s not that bad. Maybe because everyone else roots for the prince? Maxon is a sweet character, albeit too naive. If history taught us anything, it`s that princes had their way with women. Poor guy is like Drew Barrymore in the "Never Been Kissed" movie. Both of these characters are polar opposites, and America goes back and forth. The fact that there are so many hot women around and they both pine after Mary Sue is one of the most unbelievable parts of the book, but who am I to judge.

I know so far I`ve stated only negatives, but despite all that, I quite enjoyed the book. It`s fluff. I get to live my fantasy of couture dresses. Sometimes you can enjoy something even if you see the flaws. But that Hunger Games comparison needs to go. Just call it a dystopian Bachelor.

P.S. Are you using StoryGraph? It`s so good, and it has quarter stars. I no longer have to adjust my rating lower and higher.

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