Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Selection - Review

Title The Selection
Author Kiera Cass
Genre YA Fantasy, Science Fiction
Publisher  Keary Taylor Books
Publishing Date March 5, 2013
How I Got This Book NetGally
Paperback 327 pages
Stand alone or Series The Selection #1
   My Average 82 pg/day

   Reading Difficulty 2
(on a scale of 1-5 5 = dictionary vernacular)

Bachelor for the Dystopian Era

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 a palace and compete for the heart of 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.

Emotions! Yeah. I love characters, and hate others. My heart twists when Aspin comes back into America's life, and it aches for America to see that she actually loves Maxon. I want to stab a fork into Celeste's eye because she's such a bitch.

I can't not talk about the cover. Swoon. My eye caught this cover before the book was published. Immediately I thought, I want to read that. The title logo says it all, and the beautiful dress with that breath-taking color duplicated in the background only enhanses this cover. There's something to be said about monochromatic covers. They really seem to catch people's eyes.

I loved the fast pace. There wasn't a slow moment in this entire book. Every bit of necessary information for the story and it's history was given eloquently and with out overwhelming the reader. Actually, there were times I begged for more.

Lastly, I MUST read the next book. This is a life or death feeling. I will not be able to take another breath until I can begin reading book 2. Books get bonus points in my grading scale if I want to read the next book in the sequel. They also get bonus points for me wanting to refer the book to a friend. My mother in this case is the first person who I am going to push the book off onto.

There were a couple of times I found myself rewording Cass's sentences. I just don't like passive verbs. The word "being" in particular really bothers me. I remove it from sentences as much as possible. It just destroys the readers thought process.

There were only a few parts of my grading scale that didn't get top scores. The first sentence wasn't super exciting. It did however start the story of properly, and I loved the interaction with the main character and her mother on the first page, it really sets up America's personality. There just wasn't any zing to the first sentence.

There isn't really a slapps-you-in-your-face goal. There are several smaller goals within the plot. America wants to stay as long as she can so her family can continue to receive checks in her absence. America wants to stay as long as she can because she can't stand to see Aspin any time soon...

The only thing that really bothered me throughout the novel was the state of the dystopia. I couldn't  wrap my brain around the things the society had or didn't have. I wanted this book to be in the Elizabethen era. No TV's, not phones, planes... and for the most part, it really felt like that. It wasn't until the use of a plane, phone, refrigerator or camera that I felt off balance. I guess I just couldn't wrap my brain around an archaic cast system with all of the 20th century technology perks. 

Rating: A

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Kiera Cass

I was born and raised in South Carolina, a proud child of the 80's. Also, my dad is Puerto Rican, and my mom is super white. I have neither a Hispanic or Southern accent. No clue why. Growing up, I was awkward. I didn't understand fashion at all (not that I do now) and was never into what was cool while it was actually popular.  But I didn't mind it so much because I had a few really great friends and wonderful outlets. By high school, I was a seasoned dancer, diehard theater buff, and in a chamber choir that at one point was tied for third in the nation competitively.
My great ambition when I graduated high school was theatre. I wanted to be a performer in the WORST WAY! I took a semester off, did a bunch of local shows, taught at a theater camp, and went to Coastal Carolina University in the spring majoring in Musical Theatre.

After making a fantastic mistake and essentially following a boy to a different school (and state) I went to Radford University and switched my major to Music. Then Communication. Then History. Maybe a year into college, I was over theatre (though I still love performing) and decided that what I would really like to do was go on staff with the campus church and just be helpful to students. I settled on History because I could finish it on time after switching so much, and because I liked listening to the stories. 

Then, those plans were thwarted, too. I met a guy who I kept rejecting but whose heart was set on me. He somehow talked me into moving to Blacksburg, marrying him, and having babies together. I'm still not sure how he did this... well played, Mr. Cass. After that, my main hope was to be a good homemaker and stay at home with our kids when we had them.

In 2007, my world was shaken by a local tragedy, and I took it pretty hard. Over the course of the following year, I tried a lot of things to get myself together resulting in me sitting down to write a story where my character had to deal with my problems so I wouldn't have to. The distance from my head to the page helped me step back a bit and cope with all the things I was feeling. I ended up not finishing that story because I woke up from a nap with the idea that would become The Siren and HAD to get that written. After I got into the habit of writing, lots of ideas came, including The Selection and handful of others that are waiting their turn.

Once I started writing, I felt like an idiot. How had I not known I loved this all along? Seriously. Dancing, singing, acting, history... it's all just story telling. And I love it.

I self-published The Siren in 2009 (while I was five months pregnant) after not having a lot of success querying it but aching to give it to the handful of followers I had. Their support was a lot of what made me want to continue to try and share my stories with people.

In early 2010 (when my son was just two months old), I started querying The Selection and was lucky enough to find a wonderful agent in Elana Roth. Sometimes I still can't believe she took a chance on me. After a few months, Erica Sussman at HarperTeen snapped up The Selection, and it came out in the spring of 2012 (while I was six months pregnant with my daughter). Now I'm a New York Times bestselling author, and I'm thrilled to have the chance to share my stories with the world.
I currently live in Blacksburg, VA with my hubby and two kids and spend my free time playing on YouTube and twitter and eating cake.

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