Friday, April 27, 2012

"The Selection"—read it before you see it.

Before it gets sucked into the land of CW and it’s array of paranormal dramas and general teen fodder, I wanted to mention The Selection, the first book in what looks to be a promising new series by relative newcomer Kiera Cass. Set in a distant future where many Wars have eliminated the United States as a high powered democracy turning it into a new country, broken into eight very specific casts and ruled by a monarchy, The Selection follows seventeen-year-old America Singer as she is thrown into an situation that will propel her from life as a lower middle class artist, to the tops of the aristocracy.

The Selection, for which the book is named, is essentially a “Bachelor-esque” contest in which 35 girls, one from each district (slightly reminiscent in concept to The Hunger Games) are brought to their ruler’s palace to compete for the hand of their Prince, Maxon. Selected, America must leave her family and love interest behind as she is thrown into a world of wealth, war, and cutthroat feminine sabotage—all for the sake of a royal marriage and cast climbing. Did I mention that this is all done as a mandatory-to-watch, nationally televised show?

 At first glance The Selection really just seems like the authors attempt to cash in on the popular dystopic trend, while adding a touch of reality television, another, albeit more obnoxious trend, but in actuality Kiera Cass manages to elevate the text above that nonsense, creating an interesting group of characters with much more at stake than receiving that (in Bachelor terms) final rose. America, Maxon, and the other teens thrown into this situation have depths and motivations beyond their 15 minutes of fame—they seek food and pay for their families who live paycheck to paycheck, they seek companionship, and in the case of Maxon—they seek someone to share the burdens of a country, and care about what happens beneath those glitzy false public images. Now, don’t get me wrong, this book is not a work of art, but there is more to it than meets the eye, and it’s entertaining without being mind numbing.

In the fall, we could very well be seeing a pilot episode of this new book on the CW, a station that has taken teen books such as Gossip Girl and The Vampire Diaries, and turned them into popular television shows with rabid followings. While, the studio has brought up book sales, and actually, in the case of The Vampire Diaries, turned an ok book into an entertaining show, it is always possible that what is great about The Selection could be destroyed in it’s translation to television. So, my suggestion is to read the book now, enjoy it for what it is, prepare for the next in the trilogy, and in the fall, take a peak at the pilot. If it’s good, great—if not, well at least you have a fun book under your belt with just the right amount of romance and intrigue.


  1. I was shocked that on here and Goodreads that it had so many horrible reviews, I've been wanting to read this since I heard the summary, and was excited to realize it finally came out. That was a day or so ago. I could not put down this book, it was really good, and it had a love triangle that made you unsure of who to pull for. Unlike other novels where I know right away who I want to win the affections. Now I want the other books in this series, NOW! Does anybody know a good similar book to read? Not one that has any life-ending doom or something dark. But one that's light and easy and heartbreaking and romantic like this one?

  2. I would suggest reading "Matched" by Ally Condie. It has the same futuristic flair with a nice love triangle and just the right amount of strife and rebellion against the establishment. The best part is that the 2nd book is out and the final book in the trilogy "Reached" is due in November 2012. You won't have the wait and you will get to enjoy some really great books.