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Book Review: The Selection by Kiera Cass

Being completely honest, I didn’t have high hopes for The Selection. I’d read some negative reviews but still felt drawn to the storyline, which really intrigued me. Instead, The Selection totally surprised me…

Book Review: The Selection by Kiera Cass

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the selection by kiera cass

Title & Author: The Selection by Kiera Cass

Genre: Young Adult Fiction – Fantasy

Release Date: May 24, 2012

Series: 1st book in a trilogy

Publisher: HarperTeen

How I Got the Book: ARC via HarperTeen


“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.”

I Didn’t Come Here to Make Friends…

Negative reviews about a book I’m really excited about tend to bum me out. All the excitement and anticipation I had just flies out the window. Some of what the reviewers said I understand, BUT The Selection really surprised me in a good way.

Reasons I loved The Selection

1The storyline was addicting. In reading this book, there was never a “good place” to stop. Every chapter left me hanging and I HAD to start the new one to find out what was going on. From America’s journey to the palace to her meeting Maxon to the drama with the other girls, I was riveted.

2The Bachelor forumla works in books too. If you’ve seen one episode of The Bachelor, you’ve seen them all. So why is this franchise on its 16th season with two spin-off shows to boot? Because it works. The Selection is basically the YA book version of The Bachelor, but with people who I like better and actually care if they end up happy. It still bothers me that one guy can have his pick of all these women and kiss his way to the one he likes best, BUT in the book, it makes sense and Prince Maxon is a noob at dating. Awkward situations FTW!

3The world was interesting. This is where some of the criticism of the book comes in, but I have to say that it didn’t bother me too much. America lives in a post-apocalyptic U.S. (a 4th World War is mentioned) and a caste system has been set in place. She’s a 5 (a working class performer); the top tier is royalty, a 1, and the bottom is an 8, which are people who are essentially homeless. I think this whole system is really interesting, and I’m interested to see where Cass takes it in future books.

4The romance had the juiciness of being a love triangle without all the drama. If you’ve read my blog before you know that love triangles are wearing me thin. I mean I love the dynamic but this concept has seeped its way into EVERY YA book out there. The Selection subtly works in the excitement and mystery of love triangles but without the crazy drama and the annoying back and forth element.

Blogger’s Criticism

A few people compared The Selection to The Hunger Games because the girls are interviewed by a TV host and the shows are aired across the Illea (the new U.S.). All I have to say to that is…what?? That is probably the only similarity between the two books, besides the fact that they’re both dystopians. I’m not saying that The Selection is incredibly original, but I think comparing it to The Hunger Games is a bit extreme.

Some people really didn’t like the world of Illea, and on that note I have to concede on a few points. It took me awhile to figure out that the world of Illea was not a fantasy-esque type of setting but a futuristic view of the America (the country, not the character). I think this could have been made more clear earlier on in the book, but for me that wasn’t a huge sticking point. To be fair, it may be later on in the series because a few things happen that make me think that background information may become more important moving forward.

Also, there’s this really weird Northerner/Southerner attack thing that happens in The Selection that was kinda confusing. I hope Cass explains that later on.


I really, really liked this book. I couldn’t put it down – it totally sucked me in. While some elements of this book don’t reinvent the wheel, there is something to be said for a story that you cannot stop reading. I definitely recommend The Selection, and hope you give it a chance like I did.

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.
  • I’m really glad to see that you enjoyed this book! I had some reservations about picking it up so it’s nice to see a positive review from someone I frequently agree with. 🙂 Also, The Hunger Games comparisons in general are starting to get on my nerves. Not every dystopia = THG. I mean, similar readers may enjoy the storyline, but that doesn’t mean that they need to be directly compared. *end rant* 😀 Sorry–had to get that out, lol!

  • I heard a lot of negative things about this book before it even came out. I’m so glad you enjoyed it. I’ve got it on my library queue.

  • *sigh* everyone is still coming of the Hunger Games high. Sad to see they are comparing two books that are nothing alike. Glad to see you enjoyed it though. 🙂 Thank you!

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  • Christine Stitt

    Hello there! I know this posting was over 2 years ago, but I wanted to get your thoughts on The Selection. Our ladies book group at work is looking for books for our book club next year (yep- we’re a little early). One woman mentioned this book, as she knows the author. She said this book was similar to Ester’s story in the Bible. Would The Selection be appropriate for a Christian women’s Christian book study? Or is this better for pleasure reading? After hunting around the internet, this doesn’t seem like a Christian book at all..? Thoughts? 🙂 Thanks Lisa! I always know to check in with the expert (you!) when it comes to book recommendations.

    • Christine! Sorry I just remembered this comment! This book has some similarities to Esther but not many. It’s a lot of fluff and fun but I’m not sure how much there is to discuss in a book club setting. Text me if you have more questions! 🙂

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  • Luana

    Hello!! I loved your review, and like you said I heard a lot of bad comments about that book, but now I will put The Selection in my list of books, you really convinced me!!