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A Reader of Fictions: Shop Around - Smokey Robinson and the Miracles

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Shop Around - Smokey Robinson and the Miracles

The Selection
The Selection, Book 1

Author: Kiera Cass
Pages: 327
ARC Acquired from: HarperCollins via EpicReads

Description from Goodreads:
For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in the palace and compete for the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself- and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

First Sentence: "When we got the letter in the post, my mother was ecstatic."

The Selection was one of the books I wanted more than any others, because it's a dystopia and it has a completely gorgeous cover. Even though I actually don't like the fluffy dress (never been a ruffle fan), it still makes me stare, especially with the ice. Even now, I just got distracted staring at the cover. I think it's something about the colors and the textures to the dress.

Anyway, the description kind of made me laugh a little bit; I mean, it really does sound like a dystopian version of The Bachelor/Cinderella. As far as dystopias go, this definitely is pretty light fare. The society depicted here is a caste system as in olden days, with one's role in society determined by their occupation. Accordingly, women do not have much say in their lives and are required to remain virgins until marriage. Basically, this is a futuristic version of an ancient civilization, which is interesting, but, so far at least, the society really doesn't seem all that bad, although the attacks on the capital are worrisome.

The heroine, America Singer, is as one snarky reviewer pointed out a singer. Surprise. That reviewer deemed this a failure of originality by Cass, but clearly does not understand that historically many people, if they had a last name, had one that referred to their profession (i.e. the reason Smith is so common as a last name is because of blacksmiths, silversmiths, etc.). Research: it is a good thing.

Anywho, the writing definitely is pretty simplistic. Although I prefer complex sentences, I'm okay with Cass' writing. She can get away with it because the story is told from America's perspective. America, as a five (her caste), did not have a great education, so she might not think or speak in a particularly complex manner. Of course, I look forward to seeing Cass really show off her writing skills in later books.

Both Aspen and Maxon have their good points, and their moments that make me feel concerned. As yet, I am not declaring any sort of Team allegiance to either. So far, I suspect that Maxon would be better for America, but I'm not entirely sure that I like him better in general. Aspen definitely strikes me as more swoon-worthy, but Maxon's much nicer. Plus, he can afford to give her the tastiest food.

More than anything, The Selection actually reminds me of Princess Academy by Shannon Hale, which I would definitely recommend to anyone. The Selection is a fun, absorbing read. Will you like it? Well, it's going to be made into a CW television show, and I think it will be a good one (which I know I'll be watching), so if that doesn't appeal to you, The Selection might not either. I, personally, will be looking forward to book two.

Favorite Quote: "'What do you think my chances might be of finding a soul mate in the group of you? I'll be lucky if I can just find someone who'll be able to stand me for the rest of our lives. What if I've already sent her home because I was relying on some sort of spark I didn't feel? What if she's waiting to leave me at the first sign of adversity? What if I don't find anyone at all? What do I do then, America?'"

Rating: 3/5

Note on Today's Song Selection: I just could not resist this, even if it's the country, not his mother, who is urging Maxon to court ladies this way. haha.

"When I became of age my mother called me to her side
She said 'son you're growing up now, pretty soon
You'll take a bride'...
And then she said...
'Just because you've become a young man now
There's still some things that you don't understand now
Before you ask some girl for her hand now
Keep your freedom for as long as you can now'
My mama told me...'you better shop around'"

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Blogger Nori said...

The simplistic writing you mention sort of turns me away, but who am I kidding? I need to read this one so bad! It's just too pretty to let go.

March 30, 2012 at 12:52 AM  
Anonymous Christina Kit. said...

This one looks awesome!!

I think it'll be good to have a lighter dystopian. Not a war-torn, scarred country.

They're turning this into a TV show I think!

March 30, 2012 at 6:25 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Nori, I wouldn't worry too much. Her writing is still worlds more complex than Lisa McMann's in all books but the middle grade, and you liked those.

March 30, 2012 at 8:16 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Yeah, I really liked it, but you need to go into it knowing that it's just for fun.

March 30, 2012 at 8:17 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

I love the cover of this book! This sounds like a really fun read, and the quote you picked is fantastic.

March 31, 2012 at 12:04 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Well, I have a copy, so...

March 31, 2012 at 12:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was pretty excited for this book until I heard from some people they didn't like it, so I really don't know if I'll purchase it once it's out. Good to know it's going to be a tv-show though!

April 5, 2012 at 11:09 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

It depends what your expectations for it are. I recommend it as a fluffy, fun book. If you're looking for a dark, powerful dystopia, you're going to hate it.

April 5, 2012 at 11:11 AM  
Blogger elin said...

I loved this book! This book didn't have a lot of action in it, which is what I love, but I still really enjoyed it. America and the Prince's dialogues were my favorite. One of my favorite love triangle.

May 14, 2012 at 6:40 PM  
Blogger Sarah Elizabeth said...

I have to say that it was the cover that made me want this book! This I'll give it a read, I really like the idea of the television show! :)

May 22, 2012 at 4:32 AM  
Blogger Sonia said...

I am looking forward to reading this. And I haven't read any works from Shannon Hale but I keep hearing great things about them. I will read them ASAP! :-) Great review! ;-)

May 27, 2012 at 9:07 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Shannon Hale is amazing!

May 30, 2012 at 11:51 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

I'm glad you liked it. I wasn't a big fan of the love triangle, although I did like that she told Mazon and Aspen off at one point.

I will probably read on it, because this was fun, even if it did have its flaws.

May 30, 2012 at 11:52 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

The cover is gorgeous, even though I don't actually like the dress. Or the model's pose once someone pointed out that it looks like she's sniffing her armpit. There's totally something about it, though. Even it's detractors generally have to admit that it's lovely!

May 30, 2012 at 11:53 AM  

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