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Howdy YAL!

I used to be the blogger called YAL Book Briefs, but I grew bored of the handle and changed my name to Howdy YAL. I also respond to MJ. I like to read, write, eat truffles, and watch bad Lifetime movies. 

The Selection

The Selection - Really deserves zero stars.See Full Review Here: http://yalbookbriefs.blogspot.com/2012/05/selection-kiera-cass.htmlTwo words: drama llama. Well, that and while I love the cover the MC looks like she's smelling her armpits. What's up with that?Update: I think my friends hate me, I was complaining about this book earlier at lunch today and one just came in and gave me it as a gift so I wouldn't want to read fiction during finals. Think this might do the trick.Review: It was a struggle for me to finish this book. I didn't like it. The only reason I read the whole thing is because there has been lots of controversy about finishing this particular book. I was not impressed. Not one bit. Nothing really seemed to happen here. And the dystopia element just seemed forced. It almost seemed like to me, that the book merely started out as some teenage bachelor competition and the author's editor or agent told her to add the dystopia element in there for selling purposes. I know that sounds awful, but the world building is really obsolete in the book.Also, I really, really, hated the caste system. I get that it's a dystopia and that unjust societies are a part of dystopia, but I hated the way women were objectified in the book. Sexism just reeked out of the book and seemed okay. Condoned. As I'll mention in my worst feature section of the review, I really hated the remarks concerning virginity. Now let's get to characters. Like the plot: bland. I didn't like America. She seemed nice enough if a tad bit self righteous, but she was bland. Yeah, I get that she sings and that she loves Aspen but she needed....Something more....you know the thing that Disney Princess's sing about all the time.The male leads weren't that much better either. We have Aspen who came off a bit dickish to me with his whole--I'm a man-- act. And then there's Maxon who comes off ridiculously fake calling every single one of his harem potential wives "my dear" and what not. I honestly did not see why America confided in him so early on in the trilogy. She didn't even know the guy, yet she was telling him about all her dirty little secrets. Secrets that he could eventually use against her.Best Feature: Pretty dresses. There are lots and lots of pretty fashion descriptions in this book. It would honestly make a great What Would ___ Wear entry.Worst Feature: Sexism: This book is just riddled with sexism and superficialness. From the very beginning we are told how naturally pretty America is even though she doesn't believe it. Look, it's okay to have a pretty heroine, but I don't need it smacked in my face every ten pages or so. It also doesn't help that the society that Cass creates is a slap in the face to the women's movement. Let me count how many sexist moments there in the book: 1) Aspen's attitude towards America being the provider (i.e. he breaks up with her), 2) Men being able to marry down a class but not women, 3) The whole freaking virginity thing. Yes, Cass goes there. She decides to have women punished for not keeping their pants on. Look, I get that this is a dystopia. But this really rubbed me the wrong way. Perhaps it's because I've been reading asylum cases for Immigration law that involve girls who are hurt in deplorable ways because of this, but I really wish Kiera wouldn't have gone there. It's icky and honestly it's alienating a huge part of her audience. There are other sexism issues within the book that I could touch upon. Take for instance slut slamming. The character, Celeste, was created entirely for this purpose. And we are constantly told how fake she is while America is this real, natural beauty........Appropriateness: Nothing too profane is seen in this book. Unless you look at the values it preaches. The sexism in here had me throwing down the book constantly. There is also some violence that is talked about in the book as well, but once again nothing too graphic though there is talk about an attempted rape.