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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling and addictive
Illéa is the post world war name of what used to be America. The country is made up of different castes from number one to number eight. The lower the number, the better off you are. The rules and regulations are also different for each castes, the ones being better than off and the eights worse off in each and every aspect of their lives, from food to clothes and...
Published 17 days ago by Bee

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars A good start to the series
I made a mistake after reading this book, and that was to read the sequel straight after it (seriously, I devoured it in a day, there was no stopping me). Because of that, I think I'm marking this book a little lower than I would have if I'd read it on its own. Perhaps a little unfair, but what's done is done!

I was curious going into this book because I'd...
Published 3 days ago by Maia Moore @ MaiaMooreReads


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling and addictive, 19 April 2015
Illéa is the post world war name of what used to be America. The country is made up of different castes from number one to number eight. The lower the number, the better off you are. The rules and regulations are also different for each castes, the ones being better than off and the eights worse off in each and every aspect of their lives, from food to clothes and work, to name a few.

America is a seventeen year old girl belonging to caste five which is far from being the best but not the worse either. She receives a letter of invitation for entry to a lottery and if selected, she would compete with thirty four other girls giving her a chance to win Prince Maxon's attention to become a princess by marrying him.

America is not interested but is convinced to complete the form by her mother and Aspen, her secret boyfriend of two years. Aspen is at the bottom of the hierarchy as a caste eight. He breaks up with America and breaks her heart before the results are announced on a reality show. To her surprise America is selected and thus the process starts.

She leaves her family and life as she knows it behind for as long as it takes for the final selection to take place. Life in the palace is sheer luxury in each and every aspect. America had already made up her mind about Maxon before even meeting him and boy, are they both in for a surprise?

The rebellions against the royal family are in full force and their surprise attacks could put everybody's life in the palace at risk. Then there is the tension amongst the thirty five selected beautiful girls competing for Maxon and the crown. In some cases it's not necessarily in that order. Some are willing to play dirty even if that means going against the rules to be in the limelight.

I like Maxon's quiet confidence and his personality in general. I admire America for sticking to what she believes in and the way her friendship with Maxon develops, is very endearing. This book is quite compelling and brings out the family values, loyalty, uncertainty, jealousy, betrayal, cruelty as well as love and compassion.

It's a very well written novel and completely different to any other dystopian novel I have read to date, leaving me wanting to know the outcome of the selection.

I would recommend this YA to those who like a dystopian love story wit a difference.

I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars IT IS NOT A FIGHT TO THE DEATH!, 10 Aug. 2014
This review is from: The Selection (The Selection, Book 1) (The Selection Stories) (Paperback)
Princess stories = Boring
Hunger games = Awesome
Combine the two = The Selection = Lies!

Whoever said that The Selection is anything like the Hunger Games should be sued for false hope. I was expecting girls in huge ball gowns fighting to the death over Prince Maxon, and while there were points where you expected small little cat-fights, nothing such was included. Major downer…

After looking deeper into the book I realise where the comparison stems from. The girls all fight over one thing (HungerGames: life, TheSelection: Maxon and the crown), only one can win (HG: others die, TS: others kicked out), set in a dystopian future (HG: destruction of north america, TS: united states of america after world war 3), stuck under a corrupt government (HG: the capitol, TS: the caste system). The comparisons go on, but I took it too literal so if you get anything from this review, take this: IT IS NOT A FIGHT TO THE DEATH!

However saying this I thoroughly enjoyed this book! I didn’t expect to once I realised no-one would die and it was all about princesses, but it was a light and gratifying read.

The main character America Singer (guess what she does for a living, sings *eye-roll*) is a really down to earth character and you don’t have to have been in a competition over a Prince to relate to her. Thank goodness for that. She is strong and proud in her own way, but she isn’t helping the image that a girl doesn’t need a guy to be someone. Either she’s moping after her ex-boyfriend Aspen, who by the way is a complete lovesick idiot. Or questioning her feelings for Maxon, the sweetest guy ever, who’s about as stuck in life as America is.

The caste system in place in this book is people’s place in society in numbers, with 8 being homeless and 1 being royal, it is near impossible to move up ranks which are based on their ancestors lives. I think this is a great and original idea for a dystopian novel and it leads onto rebel attacks on the palace where all the girls and the royal family live. I really think that the author, Kiera Cass, could have done a lot more on this and therefore added more depth to her story. But there are 2 more books in this series and while it was only a minor plot in this first book I have a feeling it will play a bigger part in the following books. After all I’d be surprised if they could drag on the selection for 2 more books.

Posted on: http://enchantedbyya.blogspot.co.uk
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars really good start to a serires, 30 May 2014
Before I start let me just say this, is this cover not just beautiful? I'll be honest enough to say it was my main reason for wanting to read it, part of me thought that a book with a cover like that couldn't be all that bad right? well I was glad to find I wasn't wrong. This book wasn't one that I would say blew me away, but it was an easy read and I really enjoyed it.

This book will remind you a lot of The Hunger Games, although obviously they aren't fighting for their life, instead they are just competing for the hand and heart of Prince Maxon. Just like the districts of Panem we have the 8 caste's of Illea, first being the the most important and 8th being the lowest of the low. Just like in Panem, the caste's are each good at something or in charge of certain responsibilities, like the 6th being cleaners/the help and the 5th, the caste that America Singer is born in to, are talented in art (like music & painting). America Singer has never known what is is like to not be hunger, to not struggle everyday because of the lack of food and money that anyone below 4th caste has. Pressured by her mother and her secret lover Aspen (a 6) to enter, she is shocked to be picked to be one of 35 girls out of all the girls that applied.

Aspen, her boyfriend, decides to break up before she enters the competition. As a 6 there isn't much that he can offer America, and despite all their plans of one day getting married, he takes the other way out. American is absolutely heartbroken, but sees it as an opportunity to focus on winning the competition for her family, if not anything else. Only one problem, she isn't there for the right reason's, and after her first chance meeting with Maxon she strikes up a deal with him, she'll be his insider and let him know what the girls are like behind the scenes as long as he lets her stay for as long as possible so she can continue to receive the money for participating.
Through out the book America never truly forgets about Aspen, which gets harder to handle when her friendship with Maxon is starting to turn into something more each day and as more and more girls are sent home America has to make a choice. Question is which one will she chose? go with Aspen and marry her childhood friend/lover or become the next queen or Illea, if Maxon's dad allows it that is.

All in all I liked this book, it was an easy read and even though I couldn't connect with the characters and found the way Maxon spoke sometimes highly annoying, it was a fun idea. When I think back to the book maybe I shouldn't have given it a 5, because I have rated other books that were better less stars for the points I just stated, but because I couldn't put the book down I feel that in a way it should still have the 5.

Although saying that I just read about a fellow reviewer has had her review taken down off goodreads on more than one occasion, and where as I agree that sometimes she could come across as too critical, I trust her judgement when it comes to books and I think it was bad of Kiera Cass to have it removed just because she didn't like what she was saying.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite YA book ever, 27 April 2015
By 
Ajoobacats "Ajooba Cats" (West Midlands, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This futuristic YA Romance kept me up all night!

Post-World War Four, in the kingdom of Illea, the time has come for crowned Prince Maxon to choose his bride, which he must following the traditional of The Selection. Thirty-Five young ladies are chosen to live in the Royal Palace in a set-up very much like The Batchelor.

America Singer is one of The Selection, torn away from a boy she loves due to the differences in their societal standings she befriends the young Prince and offers him friendship. However, within that friendship a kernel of something more starts to grow. Will America make the cut to become on of The Elite?

YA Romance is not my genre of choice and I have never watched an episode of The Bachelor, but this story captured my imagination. Despite being a socially isolated teenager, America is very likeable and a character with real spirit , in whom I quickly became very invested.

This is my favourite YA book of 2015, I am totally gushing about this book and I'm only sorry I'm late to this party and look forward to finding out what happens to America.
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4.0 out of 5 stars 4 stars, 4 May 2015
I really enjoyed The Selection. To me, it was like a cross between The Hunger Games (without the fighting to the death) and Mean Girls with a bit of Cinderella mixed in. I felt there was a lot of similarities to The Hunger Games. Even the castes seemed very similar to the Districts of The Hunger Games. Even so, I couldn't help but really enjoy myself whilst reading and I couldn't stop turning pages. It was a nice, easy quick read.

The events of The Selection are told from the point of view of America Singer. I felt that the plot was somewhat predictable, i.e. the whole girl torn between two very different boys. However, despite this I felt that the plot moved forward at a nice pace and Kiera Cass dealt with a multitude of different characters very well. Of course, being part of a series the story didn't completely wrap up at the end but I'm definitely going to read The Elite.

I also liked most of the characters, the exception being Celeste and wish we got to know more about them all. But there is fairly a lot so I understand that wouldn't have been the easiest and many aren't actually featured in the story for very long.

I felt so sad for America when her heart is broken but she shows that she can be strong and work her way through the heartbreak. She is probably the nicest girl to be Selected, apart from Marlee. She doesn't speak down to her maids like the other girls and treats them as equals even though they are a caste below her. Unlike the majority of the other girls, she knows what hardship and being hungry is. However, I do find her name a bit silly. She is also quite whiny and immature but what teenage girl isn't at at least some point.

I also really liked Maxon. I think he has quite a naive quality to him due to probably having quite a sheltered life so far in regards to struggles of those in the lower castes. I also found him quite adorable as well as quite witty in places. I loved his interactions with America. It was sort of like he just wanted someone to talk to. There probably wasn't many other boys (or even girls) his age around the castle for him to interact with before.

I do like Aspen... BUT he is an idiot! For instance, he says to America:

"I'm supposed to be providing for you."

UGHH!! I mean I wanted to strangle him for having such an old-fashioned view. There is nothing wrong with a woman providing for a man.

I can't wait to read more of America, Maxon and Illia. I really want to find out what is in store for them next especially in regards to the rebels. So it's safe to say I will be reading The Elite as soon as I can.

Although The Selection is a dystopian novel, there is a lot of romance involved therefore I would recommend it to teenage girls who are fans of romantic novels. It is a really easy read and I believe it could potentially be enjoyed by older girls but the language is fairly simple and there is a lot of whining and bitchiness to the story.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great start, 3 May 2015
I didn't read The Selection when it was first released because I wanted to wait for the hype to die down so I could form my own, unbiased opinion of this vastly popular book series.

The Selection is set in a dystopian world where society is divided into different castes, ruled by King Clarkson. the caste determine citizens position in society and their job (it reminded me bit of the districts in The Hunger Games). America Singer is 'encouraged' to enter the Selection, which is competition to find a bride for Prince Maxon and become his Princess (and a caste One). The Selection itself is very much like The Bachelor television series but with the added addition of rebel attacks and war.

I liked America because whilst many of the other girls are either desperate for a crown or for the Prince, she wants nothing to do with it and only entered to help her family. America is the main focus of the story but we do get to know Maxon, Aspen and the other girls. America is not prepared for the luxury and demands of palace life, and struggles with the new restrictions forced upon her. What I most admired about America was her strength and determination. I also liked how she starts to re-evaluate the situation and learns not to pre-judge people.

Prince Maxon is very different to what America expects (he actually reminded me of Kiran from the Star-Crossed series) and rather than the pompous bore she was expecting, he's kind, clever and thoughtful. I appreciated how awkward he was with the girls and that he wasn't the overconfident player I was expecting. Whilst America sees the contest as a front and a joke, Maxon is honestly looking for a wife and companion.

I enjoyed the many secondary characters. Marlee and the maids made me smile, but I couldn't stand some of the other girls (Celeste, Ashley and Kriss I mean you). I'm still undecided about Aspen because for most of the book I was torn between understanding his actions and being really annoyed at him.

I would have liked to get a bit more info about Illea, the castes and the war. I'm also not convinced by America's inability to make decisions at times. Also I would have preferred Maxon to have limited his other dates and er 'activities' with the girls. But I did understand his actions, and subsequently America's doubts and confusion. Bring on The Elite!

4 - 4.5 Stars!

I received a review copy.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A good start to the series, 3 May 2015
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I made a mistake after reading this book, and that was to read the sequel straight after it (seriously, I devoured it in a day, there was no stopping me). Because of that, I think I'm marking this book a little lower than I would have if I'd read it on its own. Perhaps a little unfair, but what's done is done!

I was curious going into this book because I'd heard pretty mixed reviews and it didn't really sound like something I'd enjoy. But I was wrong.

Sure, the book had its flaws. My main gripe was that it was quite predictable, but at the same time I thought that was a little unfair: without it's predictableness (America getting picked for the Selection, Maxon falling for her etc) then there wouldn't really be a story. There was also something quite simple about it: the characters were sometimes a bit stereotypical and the world felt a bit underdeveloped. That said, I still enjoyed it.

The pace felt really gentle: nothing overly dramatic happened, everything just kind of sauntered along but, for some reason I can't explain, I really enjoyed it. America was very likeable, not too perfect to be annoying yet pretty and talented enough to be in the Selection. Her main flaw for me was Aspen: I didn't believe in the relationship for some reason, so her longing for him while faced with someone as lovely as Maxon was unfathomable.

I felt I'd like to know more about the world they lived in: about the castes, how they began, and more importantly, about the rebels. While we saw a couple of attacks and heard vague bits of information about them, I really wanted to know who they were and what they wanted. They were so nameless I didn't really feel the threat from them.

I felt some of the other girls were a little bland: I forgot names of a lot of them very quickly, but I guess that was because they were doomed not to last too long. Marlee was obviously a favourite, being so sweet and friendly, but I did like Celeste and her massive bitchiness. I expected more characters like her to be honest.

This was a really great start to what looks to be an interesting series. I love that the concept isn't really too far away from things that happen these days (I remember a certain show about girls wanting to marry 'Prince Harry'). I've already eaten up the second book and can't wait to read the next ones.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good writing, bad lessons for young girls., 2 May 2015
I'll be honest, America is one of those character's that I'm never going to like. "Oh no, don't make me up in pretty dresses and send me off to a beautiful palace to be pampered and adored all so I can have the chance of being the future queen and, you know, actually having a chance to help change the debilitating caste system of our society which sees the majority of our country living in abject poverty and thus help raise everyone I love out of poverty. Oh, woe is me."

Seriously?

This idea that by forcing people to wear pretty clothes and make up and act like a "lady" somehow means that they're going to lose "who they are as a person." As if the clothes and make up and their appearance defines them? Yeah, not a great message to be throwing out there in a young adult novel.

If I wanted to be told that my appearance is the most important thing about me, I'd go pick up a fashion magazine.

But anyway, on to the actual book.

Fun read.

It was engaging and I read it in one day. The writing is of a high quality and the pacing is excellent. One thing I absolutely loved was the slow-burn of America's developing feelings. We get to the end of the book and she's still trying to come to terms with what her feelings actually are. This is realistic, not only for a one-month time frame, but, also, for a seventeen year old girl. It's a nice touch.

Over-descriptive. I don't need to know that her favourite jammies are "cute" or that they consist of "brown shorts and fitted white tee." Unnecessary embellishment makes it read like a 13 year old's first attempt at writing. But, that is few and far between and overall, as I have said, good quality writing.

Aspen? As we're only at the end of the first book and we still have another two to go, I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt here and hope there's still room for Cass to turn him into a lesson about how not to let men treat you instead of a valid love interest.

The naming conventions are ... embarrassing. I mean, America Singer? Really? And the caste's merely being numbers? Really? Cass couldn't think of anything better?

This book could have been a fantastic allegory for the way women are looked upon and demeaned in society, if Cass had actually moved past her complete hang-up on appearances. There is so much potential in a book like this if you're willing to take it forward and not just leave it at face value. I feel like, as a female reader, I've been done out of something potentially brilliant.

At the end of the day, there is a lot of things inherently wrong with this book but I couldn't, in good faith, give less than three stars to a book which kept me so entranced.

Disclaimer: This book was provided to me by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Hunger Games meets Divergent meets The Bachelor!, 23 April 2015
This book definitely has some potential as a series: the characters are a little predictable in some cases, but not wholly unlikeable at times and downright frustrating at others - but they still get to you. There are slight elements of the dystopian idea and at times it has glimmers of a kind of 'Hunger Games/Divergent meets The Bachelor story. It is clear to see where some of the inspiration comes from and Cass presents another version of this type of broken society with cracks in the system, something not completely alien to the readers and which has enough familiarity and likeability to ensure we want to read on and find out what happens to our heroine.
Cass clearly presents the angst of a teenage girl not completely sure of herself, but who is awakening to the inherent power she has inside, something she starts to let loose throughout the novel. She makes mistakes, shows herself to be flawed and yet she still retains the support of the reader wishing her to beat the detested Celeste and her ilk. A point to Cass for creating a character that brings out these feelings in the reader.
The plot does have some holes, but on the whole, it holds the interest and creates questions and doubts in the reader's mind. Will she win? Is she worthy? How will she cope caught in a love triangle that spells disaster? It ends at an appropriate time and seems to lead nicely to the next in the series, thereby ensuring those who made it through this first episode, will more than likely read the next one to find out how it all pans out...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Clever, original young adult fiction, 21 April 2015
This review is from: The Selection (The Selection, Book 1) (The Selection Stories) (Paperback)
‘The Selection’ presents the reader with a beautiful, simply told but richly imagined story. America Singer – a ‘Five’, member of the fifth of eight strict castes and living a hand-to-mouth existence – is forced to compete for the Crown Prince’s hand with thirty-four other girls. The competition will be broadcast for the country’s entertainment, and all the girls are fighting to win Prince Maxon’s attentions – and his crown. The problem is, America’s already in love with a boy she can’t have, a Six who would rather see her elevate herself through the competition than lower herself to his caste. When she offers Maxon her friendship instead of courtship, she throws a curve ball which will change the whole competition.

It is compulsive reading, filled with sympathetic characters and touches of welcome humour as Cass creates a multi-faceted tale: family, society and love are all touched upon through the means of the dystopian Ilea’s apartheid between rich and poor.

Intended for young adults, this is a crossover work which will appeal to adults too, and feels made to transition to the screen at some point. Cass is an impressive story teller without pretention but with plenty of originality, and I will definitely seek out the next books of the series, no doubt catching up in time for the fourth one due to be released in 2015. I highly recommend this for readers who have enjoyed the books of Shannon Hale and Suzanne Collins. Think: feisty female lead, an intriguing love-triangle and fantasy lifestyles.

*I was given a review copy of this book by Netgalley and thanks to the publisher and author. The views in this post are my own.*
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