So, the story. America Singer has an opportunity most girls would kill for. She is one of the thirty-five girls selected to take part in The Selection, a contest to find Prince Maxon a wife and, one day, future queen. But she isn't. Only days before, her secret boyfriend dumped her and now she has to get over her heartbreak while trying, not to be Maxon's love, but his friend. But the other girls are determined to win the crown.
I am going to admit this: I tried to go into this open minded. I tried to not flake out when I saw something that peeved me off. I wasn't going to be critical and, oh, believe me, I could have been SO critical. But, to my surprise, I liked this. I found it addictive. I read this in one day. One day. With me, this is rare. So there must have been something about it I liked.
It is very much a beach read, in my eyes. A candy floss read. You read it, it's nice and fun, and it isn't taxing on your brain. It's not a heavy-dystopian novel (like The Hunger Games, Divergent, Matched or Under the Never Sky). It's very much a romantic story with a slice of dystopia and you know from the word go that this is going to the be a love-triangle story. And sometimes, you need a fun, fluffy read.
But, as this is a review, I need to tell you the cons. I have to. And there are cons with this book and I am going to be chanelling Mary Berry from the Great British Bake Off on my first point: the writing at times was, at time, underbaked and suffered from a soggy bottom. And with that, I mean, there are things touched upon in the book that I wish Kiera went into more depth over or took more time explaining. For example, the rebels or the castes. Neither of these were explained and, if they were, it was very vague!
There were, also, times where I did go "isn't that a bit sexist/anti-feminist?" and it bothered that for a good chuck of the book, this was all I could think about. And, staying with this, certain things bothered me in this book. At one point, an adviser told America that it's not wise to say no to the Prince and if he wants anything, you have to say yes. No matter what. Basically, this scene basically said that if he forces himself on you, if you have to let him. Or, in other wise, he can rape you. RAPE IS RAPE! THIS IS NOT OK! (luckily, there is a scene later on when Maxon tries to kiss America and, thinking he was going to force her into having sex with him, kicked him in the groin). Basically, things happened in this book or themes popped up that didn't sit well with me.
Ok, let's touch on characters. I don't have issues with them, but there were things that really bugged me. Prince Maxon has lived a sheltered life so is kinda naive, I get that, but he seemed shocked over poverty and how people who are is the lowest castes live. You're going to be king of this country so how are you not aware of this? Aspen - I have no feeling for this character at all. None (sorry all you Aspen shippers out there), but I can't accept the whole "I dumped you, America, for your betterment" and "I regretted it as soon as I left but my pride..." lines. What did you expect would happen, Aspen? America would fall back into your arms and say she loved you? YOU BROKE HER HEART! And now you said that, America could be tried for treason if you two were found out! ARE YOU THAT THOUGHTLESS TO THE SITUATION YOU FORCED HER INTO?! And as for America... I like you, sweetie. I do. But when you jumped from one chapter, where you were a strong character who would speak your mind and don't care about what people think of you, to the next chapter where you were a crying mess who's backbone has gone on holiday, it was hard to not shout at my kindle, "Damnit woman, pull yourself together! Have some pride, for the love of God!" or throw it across the room!
One more tiny thing: with all the dystopian novels I read, it makes me question the world around me and go "This could happen if we're not careful". But with The Selection... not so much. Actually, I can't imagine it happening at all!
But, with all the points I raised and have ranted/raved over, I am going to read the sequel, The Elite. I got it on NetGalley when I was playing around it with. I want to see if it goes where I hope it goes (highly doubtful), but I want to read something fun and addictive so I seem to have read and am going to read a lot of heavy reads. My advice to you all is if you are going to try and read The Selection, try and go into it with an open mind.