My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Selection earned a 4 star rating from me because it was mindless fun, which is something nice to encounter among all the fantasies and dystopias I tend to read. Like The Bachelor – which The Selection was very aptly compared to – I sat down and before I knew it, three hours were gone (which, coincidentally, is why I rarely watch The Bachelor).
The part of the book I enjoyed the most was America and Maxon’s relationship. It was so obvious Maxon has never heard “no” in his life, so he really needed the ego check America gave him. Also, Maxon was adorably awkward, even if the whole calling the girls “dear” thing was weird and made him seem like he was trying too hard. I don’t know any boys that age who use “dear,” not even ironically, so that pulled me out of the story.
America spends the whole book torn between her hometown boyfriend, Aspen, and her newfound feelings for Maxon. This was intended to add some conflict, but mostly it just made America seem wishy-washy since she kept going back and forth between the two with no real inner turmoil – she just happened to like the last boy she’d been with more, with no real development of why she liked each one. That being said, I did like when America told off the people giving her a makeover and when she insisted on bringing her maids to safety during a rebel attack, so I’m hopeful that she has a backbone somewhere.
I think the area I had the biggest issue with was the world building. Cass threw in some things to make The Selection look like a dystopia – a little bit of history, set in the future, there’s a caste system and life sucks for everyone except those at the top – but it doesn’t feel like she spent much time world building, just threw some things down on the page that were convenient for the story, and the result is there are a lot of holes. Why is there a caste system? What do the rebels want enough to attack the palace over and over? Does the royal family not have enough money to build a castle or something that won’t be attacked by the rebels continually?
I realize this review was super-critical, but despite all the issues I had with it, I still found The Selection ridiculously addictive and am eagerly awaiting The Elite from the library (along with the 15 other people in line ahead of me). I recommend this one if you’re looking for something that’s more The Bachelor and less The Hunger Games.