Published: April 24, 2012
Read as: Library loan
Average Goodreads rating: 4.14
My rating: 4
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. (Goodreads)
“No, I’m not choosing him or you. I’m choosing me.”
Oh my dears, I am such a simpleton. Obviously this book has been out in the world for years. Many, many people have read and reviewed it, offered their opinions and of course I’ve seen those comments and set this book out of my mind in the “not for me” pile.
Then, early last week, some soul posted the first page of a proposed CW script via 2016 from this book to tv adaptation on Twitter. The show never got made but the script remains and let me tell you my friends that first page was utter voyeuristic trash…and I gobbled it up like candy.
That sent me to my local library to snag up a copy of this book and now here we are. Interesting point of note, apparently the author, Kiera Cass, went to college right here in my humble little town. So, if I want to justify it, I was really supporting my local community by reading this book.
I want to start off by saying that this story is, fundamentally, terrible. Tropes on tropes on tropes, I cannot think of a single non white character, very little effort went into greater world building, and let me tell you the main character, America, is such a “not like other girls” trope that it isn’t even funny.
I love it anyway.
I think it is important to point out that you can recognize a book’s flaws and shortcomings and it is still okay to enjoy it. Sometimes I read Shakespeare, Milton, Poe, and Voltaire. Other times I read Rowling, Roberts, and Cass. Read what you want.
Moving on…my main enjoyment of this book came down to how stupidly innocent and self serving the characters in this book truly were. Girls are chosen from all over a fledgling country to come compete to win the hand of the prince. The fact that the country is at war, and has been for years, is mentioned as more of an amusing anecdote than an actual part of the plot.
Oh no, the spotlight of this story is on these ridiculous girls in their ballgowns all fighting over the same person like they are starving and he is the last piece of beef. It is both disgusting and hilarious. I couldn’t look away.
Obviously our very special, perfect girl named America is sweet and kind and is good to her maids, doesn’t want to fall in love with the prince, and doesn’t care about money only love. Queue the eye roll. But something about her had me reading on. Let’s not even touch on the ridiculousness of her name, America Singer. Because she sings. And the country used to be called America. So little thought was given to naming these characters that it is laughable.
Anyway, the story moves along as America discovers that her oh so special self actually likes the prince and, oh dear, may be falling in love with him. There are ballgowns and parties, petty retaliations and attacks by rebels, and secret trysts in the garden.
Is there a lot of substance to this book? I would say no, but at the same time the simplicity of it and how sweetly innocent the whole thing is got to me.
This book was a simple, quick read. It definitely put style over substance and in the end, I am okay with that. I needed a read that was easy to follow and didn’t require too much brain power and this filled the bill. At the end of the day I did enjoy it even though I can openly admit its faults. I’m going to be continuing to the next book of the series as well and I hope it is just as much nonsensical fluff as this one was.