By Kiera Cass

2 Stars

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Twenty years have passed since America Singer and Maxon Schreave were married. Now their daughter, a reluctant Princess Eadlyn, must make her own Selection. Eadlyn opens her home to thirty-five suitors, among them a boy she’s known (and hated) her whole life, a boy who doesn’t speak English, and a handful of troublemakers. At first, she wants nothing more than to return to the single life she’s comfortable with, but the more time she spends with her guests, the more difficult it becomes for her to imagine life without them. On every date and after every kiss, she learns something about herself, she learns something about her people, and she questions what she thought she knew about love. 

*** 

I wasn’t sure how to rate this book. I hovered between two and three stars, but I decided to go with two for a couple of reasons. First, the writing felt a little dull. Second, while I did admire how open-ended this book was—I think it’s one of the first love stories I’ve read where it wasn’t clear right from the beginning who the main character was going to end up with—, I realized I wasn’t all that crazy about any of the candidates. There’s one I hold slightly above the others, but even he got on my nerves a few times. 

Then there was the main character herself. I saw parts of myself in Eadlyn, but I also saw a whole lot of spoiled brat. She spends half of her time asking for pity and the other half flaunting her superior status. What kind of a princess says things like, “Didn’t they know who I was, what they’d trained me for? I was Eadlyn Schreave. No one was more powerful than me”?

Catey F.

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By Kiera Cass

3 Stars

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After a series of mishaps, culminating in her call for an end to the caste system on national television, King Clarkson was eager to send America Singer home. Now that she’s convinced him to let her stay, to rejoin the Selection and compete for Prince Maxon’s heart, she will have to be on her best behaviour. It won’t be easy—the Northern rebels will force her to take risks, the Southern rebels will enrage her, the king will test her to the limit, and the web of secrets and lies she’s been spinning will threaten to collapse. 

At the same time, America has trouble admitting her feelings to Maxon. It’s not that she doesn’t love him, or that she thinks he doesn’t love her, she’s just afraid of losing him. To Celeste, who fears a life outside the spotlight. To Elise, who is desperate to please her family. Or to Kriss, who wants Maxon almost as much as she does. Find out who will take the crown in The One, the enchanting conclusion to America’s story. 

*** 

I don’t know why, but I had a feeling Kiera Cass would redeem herself with this book. I was right! It was so much better than ‘The Elite’! There were a couple of things I didn’t like, a few situations I thought could have been handled better, but I was satisfied with how everything turned out. 

I must admit that, while I was disappointed that America’s romantic affairs overshadowed the rebel storyline and any of this author’s attempts at world-building, Kiera Cass knows how to write about love (for teen audiences, at least). The last few chapters of this book were absolutely beautiful… Poetic, but not flowery. Doting, but not gushing. 

Catey F.

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By Kiera Cass

2 Stars

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The stakes are high for America Singer in this sequel to ‘The Selection.’ With the competition narrowed down to six girls and rebel attacks on the rise, she’s running out of time to decide what she wants—and, more importantly, who she wants. Prince Maxon might have swept her off her feet, a motion as unexpected as it was romantic, but can she handle the responsibilities of being his wife? Aspen was her first love, as familiar to her as her childhood home, but do her feelings for him run as deep as they used to? America will have to make up her mind before someone else does it for her. 

*** 

I was grateful for dialogue while reading this book. When I was left alone with America’s thoughts, I had to prepare myself to be confused. These thoughts, many of them incomplete and most of them incoherent, came and went so fast I barely had time to process them. She’s always getting mad at people, then forgiving them, then getting mad at them again… I realize she herself is confused, torn between two guys she really cares about, but I felt like the whole book was one long, mushy internal debate. 

Another thing that frustrated me was how selfish America became. She holds Maxon at arm’s length, demanding he give her time to sort out her feelings, and yet she doesn’t think it’s fair when he starts getting closer to the other girls. Can she not understand that he’s tired of waiting for someone who won’t return his feelings? Someone who doesn’t appreciate all that he’s done for her? Someone who’s been sneaking off with one of his guards? 

Catey F.

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By Kiera Cass

4 Stars

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America Singer’s life used to be simple. She worked, she took care of her family, and she snuck out at night to spend time with Aspen, her secret boyfriend. Everything changes when she is chosen for the Selection, a competition between thirty-five girls and the chance for one of them to become the next princess of Illéa. America leaves behind her life as a Five—one of the poorer castes, but not the worst off—and enters a world of equal parts luxury and rivalry. She has no intention of marrying Prince Maxon, but the more time she spends at the palace, the more complicated her feelings become for him, Aspen, and the other girls. 

*** 

I wish I had read this book when I was just a little bit younger—I know I would have gone crazy over it! While I may not be gushing over Aspen and Prince Maxon the way I would have been in seventh grade, I didn’t find myself rolling my eyes at the cheesy parts, either. This book may have all the tropes (The Average Girl Who Everyone Falls in Love With? Check. The Mean Girl Who Always Gets Her Way? Check. The Love Triangle? Check.), but there’s a certain “feel good” quality to it that makes it easy to ignore these things. 

In fact, I think part of what makes ‘The Selection’ series so appealing is the lack of doom and gloom. I feel like some YA protagonists spend their entire books shifting between varying states of fear, anger, and despair. America, on the other hand, remains optimistic throughout. She knows how to make the most of a bad situation. 

Catey F.

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