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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Selection

My first book by this author and a theme I was a little bit unsure of when I read the first few pages, yet I can really conclude that I absolutely loved this book and can't wait to finish up the rest of the series. Kiera Cass, you surprised me in a very good way! The Selection by Kiera Cass.

America Singer is drawn out of all girls in Illéa to participate in The Selections, a big competition between 35 girls to win the prince's heart. America's world collapses when she hears she's participating, whereas other girls are full of joy. America is devastated, participating means leaving behind her family, her life and most important her true love. The more she's at the palace and the more she gets to know the prince, the more she actually starts to realize that she never thought about a future like this, about the "what if"... 

Honestly, this book got me all over the place. I was very eager to start reading this series but when I got in the first few pages, I started doubting if this theme would be something for me... It's definitely something for me! It's something new but it's something I did grow to adore a lot! 

America Singer therefore was also a role model in my opinion. The very first moment she steps into the palace she's determined to be herself, even if that means she has to leave the competition and that would mean a mother that's furious. That was the thing I admired a lot in this character, her determination and the will to be herself and not someone else. A book, again, learns us something! I said the same thing in my review of The Distance Between Us by Kasie West, here the lesson is to always be yourself and I couldn't agree more!

This way, America does stand out between the others and gets a lot of attention, yet she doesn't react on this attention like the other girls do. She just tries her best but mostly ignores it while she stays in the palace. The reason why America ignores most of this attention is because she doesn't want to win the prince his heart at all. She's in love with another but stays put in the palace for her family, which makes her a very brave and strong character. Other things about her that I noticed, is that she's an emotional person that would carry the weight of the world if she could. She's a stubborn girl but at the same time she's a very gentle and sweet girl that helps the other girls. These make America a very relatable character for almost everyone, including myself. This character will surprise you with her wisdom, as well as with how she acts around the other 34 competitive girls and this all the while you can really recognize yourself in certain traits of her. 

Another character I really want to discuss is Marlee, she's also a contestant in The Selection and there to win the prince his heart. She was the first friend America had made during the contest and one that sticks around. What I appreciated most about her was that she was as supportive as America and she also didn't hate on the others. Of course she had a moment of doubt towards America because she didn't want to talk about her adventures with the prince because this was still a competition but the two come out of this a lot stronger which made sure their bond stays strong! I really loved their bond and adored to see how their friendship grew into something that would last for a lifetime, no matter who won.

Marlee has a very shining and bright personality which makes it very hard for you to hate her. She's a girl that smiles a lot and thinks positive but won't make the others feel bad. Marlee is a character where you'd think she could be everyone's friend because she helps and consoles most of the girls when they need it. I really appreciated her in the story and I am very curious to what will become of her in the second book, especially because Marlee reveals feelings and secrets near the end of the book...

Next up is the prince, of course because he's also a very important character and deserves some explanation in this review! Prince Maxon, to be honest he surprised me most of all. In the beginning, I rather found him very stiff and formal but during the book we do get to know more of him and see some rather new and interesting sides. It's together with America that we get to know him and discover how it feels for him to be a prince and never be out of the palace. This discovery with America is a great asset to the book, in my opinion, because it's how we learn to understand the opinions of America and see why they change. Other than that, I only want to say that Prince Maxon is a very special gentlemen that'll cause some humorous moments and some pretty serious ones! 

Then the last character I really want to describe is Aspen because I feel like he's such a game changer in the book! Aspen is America's mate that she has to leave behind when the competition starts. In the beginning, I was such a great fan of him and I adored him and understood why America didn't want to leave him but then, what can I say? I guess I fell for the prince his charms! But then Aspen comes back around and together with America our heart starts to beat a little bit too fast and a little bit too loud. Aspen has such a great personality because he does everything for his family, he's the one that provides for his family and will let them eat while he starves. That were the first things that made me swoon for Aspen. Together with that comes his tenderness and gentleness that gives him a very soft side while he seems rather the strong bad boy! Really adored this character too!

The other girls we'll discover while we read but it's clear that everyone has different intentions. Often I thought some girls were only here for the prince, other times I thought they were there for the crown. Some were their for the support they could provide doing this for their families. It's really interesting to see their intentions and see how they make them come true or not come true during the competition!

As for the plot, things were great. If you thought this was all about romance, you're wrong. Of course the biggest part contains some romance, most of the time it's rather a subtle thing and something that's very sweet and swoon worthy but there's so much more than just romance! Another thing I really enjoyed in this book were the castes. Every person has a number from one to eight, if you're a one you're rich and all that but an eight has the worst and hardest life. It's a little bit like the Hunger Games with their districts and each district has a special thing. Here that's the same, sixes for example, are all servants while fives are the ones with talents such as singing or making art and so on. Seeing this made the competition with the 35 girls a lot more interesting because some girls found themselves better because they're a better number and that will create discussions and, of course, backstabbing which is always there during a competition. 

Speaking about backstabbing, the plot will focus a lot on the girls and their behavior which is something logical but I'm glad that we saw a very wide side of all the girls and their behavior. Kiera Cass didn't focus on all girls, that'd make a book itself I think, but she did pick multiple girls and through America's eyes we see how they behave and react on Maxon or on the other girls. Some books would rather skip that part or make it something very little but The Selection gave me a good amount to be very satisfied!

Also, I want to mention the feels! The characters will become close and closer but we'll see them turning their backs on each other because of a small fight too. Above that the book made me stand in the middle of two camps: Team Aspen or Team Maxon and I really adore it when books to that. I think I made up my mind though but you never know if the next book will change that. It'll be a discovery together with America. 

Two more things to cover! First the rebels... because yes, there's also a part to this book that has a lot of thrill and tension. Rebels of the north and south are trying to get into Illéa and make it their own. This will make sure that the girls will have to go hide multiple times during the plot because the rebels are attacking and I really think that this breaks through the romance and fighting between the girls and gives this book something else. I really appreciated it, and I'm pretty sure many others would like this too so there's something refreshing instead of reading about the competition the whole time. 

Lastly, I want to point out that next to thrill, competitive girls and romance there's also a lot of humor. Maxon, America, as well as many others in this story, are very funny and will cause embarrassing moments that are funny to read. Which again makes sure we break through all the backstabbing and love parts in the book.

Overall, I can conclude that this book was something very refreshing and for a theme totally different from what I'm used to with princesses and all, this was a very amusing read. It has amazing characters and will break through with parts that contain tension and humor. If you haven't read The Selection, I recommend you do! Not only will you be torn between two teams, but you'll also feel as if you're part of the contest yourself.

"35 girls. 1 crown. The competition of a lifetime."

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