Monday, June 11, 2012

Book Club Discussion: The Selection by Kiera Cass

Not yet, but there will be spoilers. You have been warned.

Provisions and Paperbacks, my IRL book club, read The Selection by Kiera Cass a while back. As I mentioned in my previous post (you can read it here), I want to share some thoughts and ideas brought up during the book club and bring my blog readers into the discussion.

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.

There will be spoilers. You have been warned.

I was so jazzed to read The Selection from the moment I found out about it because Kiera is a local author. I first learned of the book's author when my friend Carl gave me a copy of The Siren written by his friend, Kiera Cass. I've yet to read The Siren even though Carl asks me about almost every time he sees me. Here's the deal, I have this thing about books with characters with really unusual names. They are not my go to reads. I held off reading The Hunger Games WAY TOO LONG because I couldn't get over the names Katniss and Peeta. Oh man was that an idiotic decision. I LOVE that book (and the series). What does this have to do with anything, not much other than I could handle the name America Singer, so I suggested the book to my book club and they were all for reading it. Plus everyone thought it was cool that Kiera is a local author wanted to support her. We're in a pretty small town, so this was a little exciting.

Here are just a few of our thoughts:
  • The Selection was such a fun read. It wasn't The Best Thing Ever, but it was a good time - a good book club selection because it raised a lot of questions.
  • Some of my favorite parts were early on on the book when America would sneak off and meet up with Aspen in their little tree house. These moments made me like Aspen and their relationship. I was not in the majority on this one as most everyone else liked Maxon the best.
  • I still couldn't get over all of the names in and laughed to myself when someone else was introduced.
  • One club member was saddened by the fact that America was one of the selected because of the picture of her when she is so happy because she thinks that Aspen is going to propose to her. This also led us to believe that the selection of candidates wasn't as random as it claimed to be. 
  • The book was marketed as a combination of The Hunger Games and The Bachelor - of our club members, we've all read The Hunger Games but haven't watched The Bachelor - however most of us are fans of reality t.v.
  • The most memorable moment for me was America's first night in the palace and she starts to freak out and feel like she can't breathe and runs through the palace and reaches the gardens only to be stopped by the guards. I could feel her anxiety of feeling trapped in a situation that she doesn't want to be in. 
  • It was refreshing that Aspen and Maxon were both good guys. You didn't absolutely hate either of them and Maxon wasn't the arrogant prince of privilege that he easily could have been presented as being. You could argue that Aspen was a jerk for rejecting America, but the reader can clearly see his intentions.
  • We all wondered just how loyal America's maids were going to be. We've already learned of some of the rumors going around the workrooms which got one of the girls sent home. Will America's secret be exposed too? 
  • We want to know more about America's relationships with the other girls in the competition and know more about them too. It was good to see that the competition was quickly reduced from 35 to 6 (or was it 8?). Maybe this will allow us to see more developed relationships in the next book.
  • I wanted to know what books America was reading. It was mentioned several times that she was read or there were references to shelves of books, but no titles were mentioned. I want to know what books a girl like America would read. 
  • We discussed that the reviews are all over the place and that readers either really love The Selection or they really don't.

We talked about a lot more, but this book club meeting was over a month ago and this is all I can remember.

I'd like to invite readers to join in on the discussion and share your thoughts on The Selection BUT I do ask that you only make comments on this specific book in the series and that you don't reveal any spoilers for future books in the series (I don't think that will be an issue this time since the next book isn't out yet). Please and Thank you!

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