The One: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review (and a series sendoff!)

The One by Kiera CassThirty-five girls entered the Selection where they would have a chance to win the prince’s heart and one day rule Illea beside him as queen. Of those original girls, six became the Elite–their lives forever altered as they joined a higher caste and came even closer to the end of the Selection.

When America Singer arrived at the palace she never thought she would make it so far. She never realized she would want so badly to be the one Maxon chooses. Now, with the Selection nearing its end, America knows exactly what she wants. She hopes that Maxon feels the same. With pressure mounting for him to make a decision, America is still unsure if Maxon’s affections run as deep as her own.

Meanwhile attacks to the palace are growing in frequency with more and more threat of bloodshed as the rebels threaten to the Illean monarchy apart.

It is only now, with everything she wants so tantalizingly close, that America truly realizes how much she has to lose and how hard she will fight to earn it in The One (2014) by Kiera Cass.

Find it on Bookshop.

The One is the final book in Cass’ Selection trilogy. It is preceded by The Selection and The Elite. It is also very much a third book–don’t bother starting the series here. Read from the beginning.

All of the entanglements from the earlier novels in the series are neatly dispatched as the story progresses to its natural conclusion. Although this series has never quite qualified as a pure dystopia, Cass delivers more world building here to create a better picture of Illea. Even knowing how the main characters feel, the tension is still high making for a page-turning novel that is both exciting and romantic.

While much of the story felt rushed in places (particularly the last fifty pages) Cass manages to maintain the unusual balance of romance and action that has become a signature of this series. The focus remains where it should for this story: squarely on America and Maxon’s relationship. Readers also learn more about both characters as they negotiate what it means–and what it might cost–to want to spend their lives together.

That the premise works, and holds up, throughout this entire trilogy proves Cass’ expertise. The memorable, self-aware characters in this series are ones that will stay with readers. The One is a splendid conclusion to a much loved series that hints at even better things to come from Cass’ future writing endeavors.

Possible Pairings: Crewel by Gennifer Albin, Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, Wither by Lauren DeStefano, The Jewel by Amy Ewing, Once Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber, Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George, Princess Academy by Shannon Hale, Legend by Marie Lu, Cinder by Marissa Meyer, Divergent by Veronica Roth, Bring Me Their Hearts by Sara Wolf, The Bachelor

Exclusive Bonus Content: I also have to say I love, love, love the covers. This series is just so well packaged. The covers are consistent while giving very different vibes. I also like the nod to America’s name as it were with the red, white and blue of the books. Also the crowns embossed on the covers. So well done. I’m going to miss this series.

The Elite: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

The Elite by Kiera CassThirty-five girls came to the Palace to compete in the Selection to win Prince Maxon’s heart (and a place beside him on the throne ruling Illea).

Six remain–having earned newer castes as Threes and still with a chance at becoming the one.

When America Singer first arrived at the palace she thought her choice was obvious: get thrown out, go home, marry her childhood sweetheart Aspen.

After being in the palace and getting to know Maxon, America isn’t so sure. She cares for Maxon, but is she really what Illea needs in their future queen? Can America become as fiercely competitive as the other girls? Does she even want to when a future with Aspen is still possible?

Rebel attacks are becoming more frequent. Within the palace, America is learning uncomfortable truths about what it means to be a monarch and how her country came to be formed. Things are changing but America isn’t still sure what that means for herself or her country.

Everything America wants seems to be within her grasp–provided she can make a choice before the decision is made for her in The Elite (2013) by Kiera Cass.

Find it on Bookshop.

The Elite is the second book in Cass’ Selection trilogy. It is preceded by The Selection.

The Elite is another fast-paced, marvelous addition to the Selection series. With the parameters of the competition (and the world) established in book one, Cass spends more time here on the characters. While America’s wavering and doubting was frustrating it did feel realistic.

It’s still hard to classify the series but The Elite makes it easier to assert that the story is, in fact, a Dystopia with some other interesting elements thrown in such as the added dimension of world building as America learns more about the history of the country. Illea has a messy, sinister past and a lot of secrets. Yet this isn’t a story about a character intentionally trying to tear it all down or discover the truth or start a revolution. Even though, in some ways, that is exactly what America ends up doing. It feels very natural and very authentic and makes for a great story.

Being a middle book in a trilogy, some things are left unresolved. That said, The Elite is an excellent story with just the right amount of summary of past events and new information. This book is a great continuation of America’s story and also the promise of even better things to come in the conclusion to this series.

Possible Pairings: Crewel by Gennifer Albin, Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, Wither by Lauren DeStefano, The Jewel by Amy Ewing, Once Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber, Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George, Princess Academy by Shannon Hale, Legend by Marie Lu, Cinder by Marissa Meyer, Divergent by Veronica Roth, Bring Me Their Hearts by Sara Wolf, The Bachelor

The Selection: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

The Selection by Kiera CassAt seventeen years of age, America Singer already knows exactly what life she wants. She also knows, without doubt, that taking part in the Selection will do nothing to help her get that life. While every other girl in her province dreams of being chosen as one of the girls to compete for Prince Maxon’s affections and the chance to be Illea’s next princess, America is desperate to avoid the Selection altogether.

But with her mother desperate for America to have a chance at becoming a One instead of a lowly Five and her boyfriend insisting she will regret not entering on his account, America’s own wishes go overlooked. Worse, America’s hope of the Selection passing her by proves impossible when America is chosen as one of the lucky girls Prince Maxon will be courting while the entire country watches.

At the castle, it isn’t as easy for America to remember exactly what she wants. In her new surroundings she finds unexpected friends and a life she never dared to imagine. Circumstances beyond America’s control brought her to this point. Now, America will have to decide for herself whether or not she wants to stay in The Selection (2012) by Kiera Cass.

Find it on Bookshop.

The Selection is the first book in a trilogy. It is also already being adapted into a television series.

Cass brings together the unlikely elements of a dystopian setting and a Cinderella-like fairy tale story in this delightful story. America’s narration is frank and candid providing excellent details about Illea’s past and its rigid caste system as well as more personal details about her family and the Selection itself.

Superficially The Selection is a story with a love triangle and beautiful settings. However its artfully developed characters and a compelling world built with just enough details to pique interest and make way for lots of revelations later in the trilogy, The Selection becomes a novel with more depth.

Well-paced and immediately engrossing, The Selection has already gotten its fair share of buzz. With its clever world and appealing characters,The Selection is also a would-be fairy also with some definite staying power.*

*And a really neat cover that, for me, really captured America.

Possible Pairings: Crewel by Gennifer Albin, Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, Wither by Lauren DeStefano, The Jewel by Amy Ewing, Once Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber, Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George, Princess Academy by Shannon Hale, Legend by Marie Lu, Cinder by Marissa Meyer, Divergent by Veronica Roth, Bring Me Their Hearts by Sara Wolf, The Bachelor

Exclusive Bonus Content: I felt a bit strange compiling the “possible pairings” for this one since it felt like I was just throwing every recent dystopian at it that I could think of and waiting to see what stuck. But, truly, I think the pairings work. This is a great read for anyone who loved how Catching Fire focused on what happens after a Tribute wins the Hunger Games. It’s as much a Cinderella story as Cinder. The caste system is very similar to Divergent’s factions. Hopefully you get my point. And it is definitely, strikingly appropriate for readers who want a read alike for Princess Academy but with older characters.