The Selection or That Time I Absolutely Rooted For the Prince

The Selection by Kiera Cass

So when I was about 10 pages in I described this book as “like the Hunger Games, only instead of killing each other they have to compete to marry the Prince. So, kind of less awesome” and I stand by that.

Essentially that’s the plot of this story. In a distopian future a shattered United States is divided up into castes (see Districts) with little or no chance of individuals escaping the situation they are born in. There is a critical shortage of food generally, particularly for lower castes but the main character, America, (see Katniss) and her family do relatively well for themselves, although they occasionally face overwhelming poverty. America  works as hard as she can to protect her family, particularly her younger sister May (see Prim) and often experiences tension with her mother (see Katniss’s relationship with her mother). As well, she breaks the law (see Katniss and the law) mostly to spend time with the man she really, really loves – Aspen (see Gale). Slightly problematic about this relationship – she was 15 when she met him and they have been together for two years, trying to find a way to get married. I’m all for young love and all but … anyway that seems a little much to me somehow. I would have been more comfortable if everyone had been just a little older.

Anyway, my comfort about 15 year olds getting married is not the issue.

The prince of the country has come of age (like… why wouldn’t they make that 25 so America could have at least the been the legal age of consent when she met her true love?) and so it’s time for him to get a wife. Apparently the best way to do this is randomly select 35 young women/girls to come, live in the palace, have a televised life and hook up with the prince. America enters because Aspen asks her to, on the assumption she won’t get in. He breaks up with her shortly afterwards for her own good (I have it on good authority that that’s a lame excuse)

Spoiler! She gets in.

So its off to the Capital, I mean Palace, for our poor, hungry heroine where she’s made over, meets the competition and gets some maids.

While there she learns that she’s awesome at pleasing the crowds (see Katniss and her public image), doesn’t really like overly pretty clothes (see Katniss and her outfits), that the rebellions that are occurring at the edges of the country are way more serious then anyone outside the Palace knows (see Katniss and learning about the rebellions), publicly courts the Prince Maxon (see Katniss and Peta) and finds out that he’s actually kind of an awesome guy on the inside (see Katniss and Peta. Again)

The writing was unremarkable. Attempts to make America seem three dimensional are forced, weak and often quite lame. The other girls are, for the most part, cardboard cutouts including one of the most offensive, un-empowering female tropes ever – the Bitch – and the clever parts that could have been really played up like the wealth gaps and the contrast between the parties and the attacks by the rebels only serve as an opportunity for somewhat ineffective character development instead of being studies in their own right.

But I kind of liked it anyway. It was an easy read for sure, fun, cute, Maxon got a little more character development than any other and was kind of adorable and there were a few spots that had me laughing out loud. Mostly surrounding him and America, although sometimes the other girls, trying to find ways to be friends (yeah right, like that lasts long). I’m not going to say it was a great book, but it was nice book. A chick flick book. And I’ll read the sequel whenever it comes out.

Last movie I watched: None. We’re still on the Muppets.

Last TV episode I watched: Batman Beyond. Where Ten comes back and Terry’s all confused ’cause he really digs her but she’s a super criminal who keeps trying to kill him, although in her defense, she doesn’t know that he’s Batman. She is Terry’s Catwoman. It’s wonderful.


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