If Robert had to pick between 36 books to find a lifetime companion, The Selection wouldn’t be anywhere near the top! Check out Bryan and Robert’s review of The Selection by Kiera Cass.
Bryan’s quick summary:
America Singer lives in a world where everyone is born into live that’s chosen for them. There’s only one way up the rigid caste system, and that is The Selection. 35 girls will compete for a chase to win’s the Prince hand in marriage and a shot at changing their entire family’s fate forever. When America beats incredible odds to be chosen as one of the 35, her heart remains with Aspen, her secret love in a caste below her. When she meets Prince Maxon, America realizes that her future may hold much more than she bargained for.
The Selection is by Kiera Cass
So what did we think? (From a reader’s perspective)
1. (Bryan) I really enjoyed this book, and even though it’s basically combining the Hunger Games and the reality show The Bachelor, I couldn’t put it down. It was hard not to buy the sequel immediately to see what happens.
2. (Robert) Bryan and I really were split on this one! (Sorry Kiera Cass – please come on our show!) This is a bad version of a Hunger Games meets The Bachelor … really bad. The dialog is off, the names are just dumb, the motivations make no sense and the “plot” doesn’t get anywhere. The book is one giant unresolved story. I could see how it might appeal to nine-year-olds if it were cleaner, but the amount of sexual content precludes this.
3. (Bryan) Though I don’t love the name, America is a complex character whose head I enjoy being in. She’s no pushover and she doesn’t fold under pressure.
What did we think from a writer’s perspective?
1. (Bryan) What The Selection does that The Testing didn’t is that it has high stakes right from the beginning. The emotional investment between America and Aspen really pulls that off.
2. (Robert) There’s a lot to learn about this book – it’s very popular (4.4 star average out of 2,200+), so obviously there’s some charm for the younger female reader in search of a Cinderella fairy-story with Hunger Games overtones (not really). To be fair, some of America’s lines are spot on, so maybe readers loved this and saw themselves in her glass slippers?
3. (Bryan) This world makes more sense than Divergent’s, even though there are times where it seems a bit silly.
Bryan and Robert’s Famous Takeaways:
1. A book (and series) can still be popular even if it’s a poor story – one man’s Bachelor rubbish is another girl’s deeply riveting love story.
2. Emotional stakes will always deepen your book, and having them from the beginning never hurts.
3. This book is like a combination of several different things, but if you crib ideas from others, make it your own. I (Bryan) think Cass does that.
Prompt of the Week:
What are some other reality shows that could be grafted onto a dystopia book? Which one would have the most promise and why?
Write your response to the prompt or the show in the comments!
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