books, Reviews

The Reviewing Reel: The Selection

The Selection by Kiera Cass

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Right, first of all we need some background.

I’ve been getting more and more into the book community over the past few months, I’m subscribed to some really awesome BookTubers, big and small (I’ll probably do a recommendations post for them soon – if anyone has any good less well known BookTubers or any amazing book bloggers let me know!), and to some bookish blogs as well.

One thing I started to realise is that everyone was talking about this book called The Selection. By Kiera Cass. Granted, this book is several years old and I was watching some older videos, but it seemed to have positive reviews. So, when I went shopping with my friend after Christmas, I picked it up.

Now. This book. I honestly…

I didn’t mind it…?

But I didn’t like it.

Yeah. That’s an appropriate summary. The Selection, the first in a trilogy turned five part series. Basically, it’s about this girl called America Singer who gets entered into a contest to win the hand of the prince of the land. Except, she has a boyfriend. And she doesn’t want to be there. But there she is. And she starts actually liking this prince guy.

Lets start with what I liked. The protagonist was spunky and had lots of guts, she wasn’t a pushover and she was definitely a strong female lead, in my opinion. The idea of the whole concept was quite obviously borrowed from The Bachelor – I don’t watch reality TV but i know the premise of the show, and it’s basically a carbon copy. That just makes it more enjoyable in a way, though? It was a silly, fluffy read.

The idea of different classes was enjoyable too – LOOK AT IT AND THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD MORE CLOSELY that would definitely make this book a whole lot better. Not enough emphasis is placed on the intricacies of the dystopian future place this story is set in. Which I understand, it’s primarily romance, but come on. Give us some more juicy detail.

I had a few issues with this book, though. Sticky label issues. Issues that needed marking so I didn’t forget them.

First off, America’s boyfriend tells her that “I’m supposed to be providing for you. It’s humiliating for me to come here and have you do all this for me.” Which is disgusting. She’s your girlfriend, she wanted to do something nice for you. Also, it’s more than a little bit sexist – enforcing gender roles and stereotypes. He’s not supposed to be providing for her, she can provide for herself, thank you.

And then America goes on to say that “I felt guilty instead.” Doesn’t she realise how horrible her boyfriend is being to her? She shouldn’t be feeling guilty – he should be feeling guilty.  There’s a lot about this kind of gender enforcing stereotyping through the entire story, which I really didn’t enjoy.

So, America joins the Selection. She’s then told that “you are now considered property of Illéa.” I’m sorry – what?! Isn’t this a breach of human rights or something?? Granted, this is dystopia, but oh god, this really angered me.

Also, come to think of it, why is America called America? That’s just really fucking stupid.

That’s the two points in the story that really bothered me/annoyed me/pissed me off. Maybe I’m just being unreasonable, expecting a positive message from a YA dystopia novel written for people younger than myself.

But I gave it a 2.5/5 stars overall. Not quite bad enough to deserve a 2, as it was redeemable, but not good enough for a 3. If you want to read this book, I would recommend getting it second hand or from a library, or borrowing it off a friend. For me, this was a waste of £7.99.

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