Edition: hardcover (received from RAK)
WARNING: There is going to be A LOT of gushing in this review. This has to be one of my favorite books of 2012, and I'm so happy I have a copy of it to call my own! I'm just warning you ahead of time that there will be a lot of exclamation points, a lot of synonyms to 'awesome', and very many caps.
America Singer is the type of character that I respect. She's strong, she knows what she wants, she's very protective, and she's able to stabilize herself.
Ah, so the decision between Aspen and Maxon. I had troubles feeling bad for Aspen in the beginning of the novel, because he could be quite a jerk. I also knew that she would be going into this lottery and would most likely end up being with Maxon, so I didn't really want to get too connected to Aspen. It seems that as the novel progressed, and America started becoming friends with Maxon - that's when I started missing Aspen. Maxon was extremely sweet and he didn't have some of that spice like Aspen. It's not a bad thing or anything, but I need a little badness every once in a while! ;)
If there were teams for this, I'd be all for Team Maxon. He's just sweet and adorable and caring and everything good. He seems like the perfect boyfriend, but only for a girl that was as quiet as him. He doesn't seem like a PERFECT match for America, but I know they could definitely work out and have a wonderful relationship. I'm hoping that their relationship will pick up in the future novels. I did get kind of mad at Aspen later in the book, only because he was ruining the America-and-Maxon-ess.
The other girls in this novel really made it interesting for me! It reminded me of the Bachelor, where you pick your favorites and you voice your opinion of who you want to go home. I always knew I wanted America and Maxon to get together, but I had some other choices if that couldn't happen! These other girls also made it easier to relate to the novel, because when you put all the girls together it reminded me of a middle school sleepover: some of the girls you really liked, others were only there because you felt bad for them, and others were mean and terrible and didn't truly deserve to be there.
This was kind of a mix between a dystopian and a contemporary. The only dystopian aspects of it were the caste system and the competition/lottery with the girls. Those were the two parts that really interested me though, so I was glad it was included! The first few chapters really dwelled on those two themes, which helped set up the rest of the story. Kiera did a wonderful job creating this world - that's for sure!
The Selection has a wonderful cover and premise - that's for sure! I wanted this book so bad, and mostly because of the gorgeous cover. Then when I read the summary, I knew I had to get my hands on a copy. I usually don't get copies of a book, but Hannah sent me a copy for RAK and I was super excited! I devoured the book in the two hours after I ripped open the package! I really wish this would become a TV show, and I'm hoping they'll release the pilot even if it doesn't turn into a TV show! This would have been a shower that I wouldn't want to miss!
Q: Who or what inspired you to write The Selection?
Kiera: The Selection came from wondering about the “what ifs” of other stories, mainly Esther (from the Bible) and Cinderella. I just wondered if Esther, before she was shipped off to the palace to compete for this king, maybe liked the boy next door. Even if she lost, she was never coming home. Did she maybe care about someone else and have to let that love die? I was very curious about her heart. And Cinderella never asked for a prince. She asked for a night off and a dress. We assume that she lived happily ever after because she got a man, but what if that wasn’t the case? What if this was way more than she was prepared to deal with? Those two thoughts merged in my head, and I knew I wanted to write a story about a girl who would come from a humble background and would gain the attention of a prince, but she wouldn’t want him because she was already in love. And I knew that she would go through something (which ends up being The Selection) that shows her more of the world than she was ever prepared to see.
Q: List three words to describe your novel.
Princess Funtime Explosion
Q: What is it like being an author? Is it different from your previous lifestyle?
It's busy but mellow. It's not like being an actor or musician. No one really cares about what I do, they mostly care about my characters. So I can still walk around in PJs and play with my son. I love my job, and it fits in perfectly with my life!
Q: What do you enjoy most about being an author?
Honestly, I just love storytelling. It's just so much fun. I also like connecting with readers.
Q: What advice would you give to teens that are aspiring authors?Get a thick skin! People can be mean. And learn as much as you can now. There's a lot that goes on behind the scenes of making a book, so do your research. Also, don't skip the basics. You really need to have the technical side of writing mastered, so listen in English class, okay?
Q: What was the most difficult part of writing The Selection?
Realizing that I got America wrong. With The Siren, Kahlen was very bitter about what had happened to her and wanted the world to know. So when I started putting America's story on paper, I just thought that everything coming was from her. It took me a while to see how reserved she was, and that I was saying things that she didn't want said or pushing the story in a way it didn't really go. I ended up rewriting a lot of the book.
Q: Have you always wanted to become an author?No! In high school I was a choir geek. I wanted to go to Broadway, and I studied music, dancing, and acting like crazy. It's for the best that it didn't pan out. I wasn't very good!
Q: Do you have any other works in progress?We are currently editing Book 2, and I'm working on Book 3. After The Selection Trilogy is done, I have an idea of what's coming next, but I can't say!
Q: What do you do when you face things like writers block or other bumps in your writing journey?
Listening to playlists, designing clothes, making family trees, drawing blueprints... whatever it takes get me excited about the story again, that's what I do.
Q: When it came to publishing, what was the hardest part?
Patience! It took 2 years from signing the contract to The Selection hitting shelves. I had to work hard to go with the flow.
Q: Did you prefer the route of self-publishing for The Siren, or did you like the route you took with The Selection?Self-publishing was cool because it gave me a lot of control, and I learned a lot about self promoting. But now that I've gone the traditional route, I could never go back! It's amazing having such a great team of people to help make The Selection everything it could be. I can't believe how lucky I am!
Thanks for reading!