1) First of all, is The Selection what you expected?
Danni: Not at all! I was expecting a serious competition between all of these girls, with America a little confused (due to Aspen in the synopsis) but still competing. I was looking forward to seeing the strategies and personalities of 35 girls, but instead the book was mainly about everyone- the Prince, the girls, and America herself- trying to figure out what’s going on with America.
Suzi: No. I expected something more involved…deeper. There is so much that could have been done with a plot like this.
2) What did you think of America’s name?
Danni: …America… Singer.. It really sounds all sorts of off to me. Maybe if America was a graceful or cute name like Asia or London, but I don’t there’s any way to make America sound flattering. Those closest to her end up calling her Ames, which is just awkward, and Mer, which gets me thinking of dumb redneck impersonators yelling AMERICA! The only thing good about that name was the reason behind it, which I liked. And Singer? Is everyone named for their profession? Are there, like, a million people out there with the last name Teacher or Servant? In that case, it must be hard to marry into your own caste, finding someone with a different last name. And if that’s true, then what the hell is a Lerger? Sounds about as cushy as the owner of the name was.
Suzi: Danni and I differ on this one. It rolls off tongue to me. A bit cliche? Well, yes, but I love the way that it meant something, a symbol of what the land was. What can I say? I’m patriotic like that.
3) Did it bother you not knowing why Maxon sent home the first batch of girls?
Danni: Yes! This was a big pet peeve of mine. For two reasons: One, I just like to know these things, and I was thinking I was getting a book that was more about the competition, so to be missing a huge explanation on that part really bothered me, and Two, America totally seems like the type of person to stick up for her friends. Maybe she didn’t know *not going to spoil the name* too well, and maybe it’s the nature of the competition, and maybe there was nothing she could do about it by the time it was done, but you’d think it would bother her and that she’d at least want to know why one of her friends was sent home. Instead the friend was forgotten almost as quickly as she was dismissed.
Suzi: I would have liked to have known, but it didn’t bother me like it did Danni. To some extent, I think it was assumed that we would get the message that Maxon wasn’t looking for what we thought he was.
4) Your favorite scene in the book?
Danni: The girl’s first dinner with Maxon, by far. I really loved what you got to learn about Maxon’s character in that scene, and the girls’ responses to his words. I also loved how that dinner ended up. It was the most in-control America was in the entire book.
Suzi: Urm…I don’t remember the details of that scene, Danni. So, I will go with when all of the girls were making the transition into The Selection. Meeting each other, seeing things for the first time, and all of that. It was the closest to real scene setting since world building was not a major part of the storytelling.
5) What did you think of the chosen six Elite?
Danni: I was disappointed that it was narrowed down so quickly! I suppose in the end, the book really wasn’t about the other girls, but I knew so little about them that I wasn’t able to make predictions or anything, and that’s half of the fun of this sort of competition. When they were chosen, I was just like “who?” I felt like I really missed out on a part of the story. I guess I wouldn’t expect an author to personify 35 different girls, especially in a book so small, but why make the competition have 35 when you’re not even going to personify five of them to the point of recognition?
Suzi: I was disappointed that the book got to the six so quickly also. I liked the drama of having so many girls around, all competing, all with such vast personalities.
6) Did you feel like this was a great premise that could have been executed to be so much greater than it was?
Suzi: It’s my question, so yeah. It was a good book, and I will read the others, but there was nothing here that blew me away. I feel like the majority of the story was the equivalent to a season of The Bachelor.
Danni: It was definitely not what I expected. I feel like there were a few ways to do it; I personally was looking for more of a book form of Survivor, and there ended up being really no contest at all. I don’t feel like the premise could have done better, I think it was just wrong altogether. Like the synopsis of The Girl with All the Gifts.
7) Were you bothered by the love triangle?
Suzi: I am not normally bothered by love triangles as much as others as long as the connection between the love interest is not too serious. Unfortunately, I was really bothered by America and Aspen in this case. They both felt more like players trying to get what they wanted than giving loving people.
Danni: YES. Every time I saw Aspen I wanted him to die. That extends to the sequel, which I’ve already read.
8) Where there any inconsistencies that were a problem for you?
Suzi: Too many. America doesn’t want to participate in the Selection, even though it would mean everything to her families financial future, and she was more than willing to take a cut of her profits from her family as part of a deal to participate. That all screams a disregard for her families future, yet all of a sudden we are suppose to buy into America’s all consuming need to stay in the Selection all because her family is getting payed while she is there.
Danni: Only when you mentioned them! When I looked back at it I realized how flip-floppy America’s personality is. But that doesn’t really bother me, as it can be summed up as rashness in her case, and that can be a personality trait all on its own. Even if that’s a stretch, it’s good enough for me.
9) I have seen reviews that rave about the simplicity of the story and others where it drives the reader mad. Where do you stand?
Suzi: I wasn’t bothered by the simplicity. I kind of enjoyed it, actually. While I do wish that the world building was better, the ease of the story can be refreshing. I am a cozy mystery fan, and The Selection is kind of like cozy dystopian.
Danni: Not bothered at all! It was refreshing and fun to read. I bought the second ten minutes after finishing the first. I think the fluffiness of the plot is what makes the book so appealing.
10) What were your first thoughts as the story came to an end? Before you had any time to process.
Suzi: Awe shiz! Another series where there is no proper conclusion to the end. I don’t know what the hell is up with all of these series authors who think they don’t have to give me a completed story. I get it that there is more to come, but that’s not how it is supposed to be. I should be left feeling fulfilled, yet with enough of a tease to leave me wanting more.
Danni: “I loved it!” As I mentioned, I went out and got the next one right away. That’s really why my rating’s going to be so high for The Selection: it was just the exact feeling I was looking for, even if it wasn’t the plot I was looking for. If I was rating how good a book it was, all of these expectations and inconsistencies would have definitely knocked down the rating, but I decided to rate it by enjoyment.
Danni’s Overall Star Rating: 4
Despite its many lackings, I really just enjoyed this book. It was light and fluffy and cute and I loved the prince and enjoyed his interactions with America. My biggest peeve was that I didn’t get to learn anything about most of the other girls, but while I was reading this was easy to accept because I was enjoying the story.
Suzi’s Overall Star Rating: 3
The Selection is an easy quick read with an interesting premise. I didn’t feel much, but I was entertained. I would have liked to have felt some danger when it was clear that is what the author intended, and I would have liked to have felt a connection between Maxon and America. Instead I found myself thinking that he should send her ass home. Hopefully there will be more of a connection in the next book.