Like other teen romance novels, The Selection is clean. No sex. I appreciate that. But there is a lot of yummy romance. I enjoyed getting to know the main character - America and found her to be believable and very likable.
Like other dystopian stories, I liked the examination of societal values. In this story there is a caste system which makes it very hard for some, who are born into lower castes, to make something of thier lives. With those who are born into upper castes, life is pretty easy as far as meeting basic needs, and there is a lack of understanding or recognition of the difficulty for the lower castes. It makes a person reflect on our actual North American society today. Although we may not have castes, I wonder if the old "American dream" - the opportunity to better yourself - is getting harder to obtain that in past decades? Do the successful people understand what its like to struggle - are they compassionate to others?
This book also speaks to the idea of freedom and agency. I always love that theme - as it makes me appreciate my own opportunities to choose.
The book is a little bit predictable, but I don't mind that when there are great characters. Although it ends on the edge of a cliff! Dang it! I can't believe I have to wait for the next book to come out - I want to know what America will choose!
I didn't love the narration. It wasn't terrible, but just wasn't awesome like other books. I can't put my finger on why.
"Here's the thing about gifts." Eula stopped buttering her toast and looked straight at me. "A body don't know how many the good Lord tucked inside them, until the time is right. I reckon a person could go a whole life and not know. That why you got to try lots of things; as many as you can. Experiment."
These are the words of Eula, a black woman who stops to pick up a precocious, feisty, red-headed run away little girl in Mississippi, as the girl tries to escape her overly strict grandmother. The sixties was not an easy time to be a black woman in Mississippi. Yet, despite hardship, Eula is full of quiet wisdom and compassion. Her wonderful insights pepper the chapters of this book.
If Eula's wisdom peppers the book, then the saltiness comes from Starla, the red-headed and VERY feisty run away, who is the voice of this story.
Many times Starla's "leap before looking" approach to life gets her into deep trouble - with sometimes sad and sometimes hilarious results. Watching her question and break the rules, over and over again, is like sitting across the table with a child who's cup of milk is right on the edge of the table. You are telling the child - move your cup - but they don't understand and end up knocking the milk all over the floor. You can see it coming a long ways in advance! The same happens in this book repeatedly. There is no ill intent on Starla's part, but a strong will paired with charming naivety. This combination of character traits allows Starla to see past the racism she has been taught, to the goodness of the people around her.
I really enjoyed the book and will look for others by this author.
I just finished listening to this great book, faster than I listen to most. It pulled me in and captivated me with its wonderful descriptive and fluid language, and the depth of the characters. Now that it is finished, and I learned from the epilogue that some of the main characters were real people, I find it even more compelling. I wish I could meet these people! I want to travel to see where they lived and I'm interested in learning more about them.
We start the story with Sarah Grimke, a white child of a slave owner and, Handful / Hettie, a slave who lives in the same house. Grimke's story is mostly true, while Handful's is mostly fictional, based on the author's research about slavery in this time period. We follow these two women, and others, through more than three decades of their lives and see how their choices weave them together.
With a story of the Southern US during these years, one of the themes, of course, is freedom and captivity. Although this is predictable, the author does so in a very compelling way. Sarah Grimke is both free and not free, depending on what angle you examine her from. At one point in the book, Handful talks about how she (Handful), is not free physically, but is free in her mind - while Sarah is free in her body but is trapped in her mind. Interesting thought... along with many others that keep running through my mind now that I am done listening to the book. The longing for freedom and the fight for it, and what some people are willing to do to enslave others... Although this particular tale of freedom is set in a specific time period, this theme is one that is as relevant today as it was 200 years ago.
If you liked "The Help" you'll like this book. The portrayal of the struggle of people impacted by the fight against racism runs strongly in both books. "The Invention of Wings" comes earlier in history than The Help. The Help has more 'fictional' characters, but the compelling nature of the courage it takes to fight for freedom is heavily present in both books.
I really enjoyed this book, and hope you do too!
I really liked this book and didn't plan on writing a review until I saw all the negative reviews that were out there. I thought I might offer another opinion to consider.
Other reviewers say they didn't like the choice the author made for ending the story. I get that. I didn't like it either, but not because it was poorly written. I didn't like it because I was so attached to the characters I didn't like the outcome for them.That's an important distinction, I believe. Being so attached to the characters that I disliked the ending means the author did her job - she got me to care!
One reviewer wrote that she had wanted the story to leave her feeling uplifted and Allegiant did not do that. I get how someone could feel that way - certainly I wished the ending was different too. But - if you read deeply the messages of this book, they are really profound. And with that profoundness comes a hope that individual readers can take away from the book if they want to.
Here are a few messages I picked up on (but before you read them... there are a few statements that could be considered spoilers):
- how we each change and impact those around us
- how we are each more than our genetics - we are our choices
- regarding the pain that comes from loss - although we all wish we didn't have this, and wish to forget and put away the pain, it is important to have our memories of the past because they make us who we are.
- Sacrifice is a gift when it is motivated by love.
- And here's a quote I liked a lot: "There are so many ways to be brave in this world. Sometimes bravery involves laying down your life for something bigger than yourself or for someone else. Sometimes it involves giving up everything you have ever known, or everyone you have ever loved, for the sake of something greater. But sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes it is nothing more than gritting your teeth through the pain and work of every day; the slow walk toward a better life."
For me, the book was worth the listen for the depth of thinking and reflecting I experienced while listening.
I would recommend it to others.
I liked this book a lot. It was recommended to me by Audible based on a previous listen: "A Discovery of Witches". I liked "discovery" better, but still really enjoyed this listen.
The book has a similar, creepy feeling. Not scary at all, just a feeling that something could be lurking around the next corner.
I would also compare this book to two others - well one book and a movie. The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane could be compared to National Treasure (not sure if its a book) - in some ways. It is similar in that it involves a search for something historical and there are a series of clues to unravel. I really enjoyed the look into history this book offered - albeit it highly fictional. I still felt I learned something about the Salem Witch trials and 'cunning' people of that day.
I think my favorite part was the going back and forth to different women in time, and thus my comparison to a third story: Joy Luck Club. In Joy Luck Club I enjoyed the understanding that steadily grew through the story as we learned more about each woman. The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane has that same feel to it - although it does not go as indepth about each woman. What we readers get is glances or flashes back in history that give insight into the current day. The connection to the past gains more momentum and meaning as the book moves on, which is why I think some reviewers say they thought the beginning of the book moved slowly.
When deciding to read this book I read some reviews. One person commented that the current day character was dull in comparison to the people of the past. I can understand that comment, but I wanted to offer a different opinion. I felt the current day character becomes more interesting as she becomes more connected with her past. I like that!
Anyway - good solid book. If you liked "Discovery of Witches", "National Treasure" and "Joy Luck Club" - this is a good book for you!
I just finished this trilogy and enjoyed it enough, obviously, to listen to all three books.
There was a lot I enjoyed, but one major thing that would keep me from recommending it to my friends. The book contains some swearing and mild sexuality. I realize this does not bother some readers, but it is just not my preference in a book. I tend to lean towards teen and YA fiction for this reason. If that's you, be warned that the series pushes this fence.
Having said that, there is much I enjoyed about the series. I really liked the characters, the alternative universe created by the author, and the romance. While the story line is clearly fictional, the feelings of the characters feel real and believable - especially the struggle the main character has in coming to who she loves. Also, as the story unfolds, you begin to see events that have already occurred with a different perspective. I really enjoyed that.
In summary - mixed reaction to the book. I really enjoyed it - except the swearing and sexuality.
This is a very creative dystopian series. I like adventure mixed with romance, as long as the romance is clean. This book provided both of those elements in abundance. I also like a book that makes me think about deeper values. This book also offered that: a fictional look at what would happen to us, if we eliminated some of the more painful parts of the human experience. The imagined world is very creative and I enjoyed seeing it in my mind!A note of caution... I found myself having a difficult time getting into the book. It seemed a little slow at first. Also, it took me quite a while to get used to the narrator's voice. Usually narrators don't bug me much, but this one did for a long time at the beginning. She reads well and has really good inflection to differentiate characters, but the actual tenor/tone of the voice irritated me. However, as the story went along I got used it and at that point, the voice became invisible as I imagined the characters and world the author had created.
A few. First, when the main characters realize what you've know all along that they are attracted to each other and care about each other. This happens gradually and deliciously over several chapters of the book. Second, when one of the characters saves the good guys from the cannibals with his extraordinary ability due to a genetic predisposition. Writing this almost makes it sound like spiderman or something similar. Its not superhero save the world kinda stuff, though, jjust so you aren't mislead!
I didn't love her voice at first. However, as the book wore on I got used to it. She is very good at inflecting characters personalities.
Divergent, Hunger Games, or any other book based on a dystopian society. Just because they are about a dystopian society. Like other similar books, it forces you to think about your values. In The Giver one you think about how your own bad experiences (that you sometimes wish you could forget) actually help to shape you. The silver lining of those experiences is that you learn from them. It reinforced what I've always believed (even if I don't like it in the moment) that difficult experiences make me a better person, and they deepen my gratitude for the good things in life.
I have heard there are to be five books in this series, but after listening to this book, I am thinking Tiger's Destiny is the final one. The conclusion just felt so satisfying which is awesome. Some books don't give you that. I have loved this series so it is great to have it end so well.
I loved that Kelsey finals figures out who to be with - Ren or Kishan and stops driving them both nuts.
As usual for this series, it is full of adventure and romance! And the beginning sure starts out with a bang! The story gripped right from the first few minutes.
Meeting Durga in the past. Put a whole new twist on the entire series - I remembered back to particular scenes and saw them differently.
Love all the accents and characterizations. I don't know how she remembers the exact intonation for each of those many characters, but she does it. I can tell who is talking just from the way she speaks for each one.
Absolutely. Because of the warmth and humor. There were moments that were so funny I laughed out loud. They are funny in a quirky way - because the characters are so distinct and they get into all sorts of predicaments. I think my favorite of these quirky scenes was with one of the older female characters... I could just picture it... an older lady, walking down the side walk with a click-ity-clack of high heels, beehive hairdo, and a unlit cigarette hanging out of her mouth (only there to fulfill a long time habit), pushing an office chair headed toward a picnic in a parking stall with her childhood best friend.The description of this scene transported me right there and made me alugh! The quirkiness of the characters, not just in this scene but others too, was just delightful.
I think what I loved equally as much was the relationships of all the women and how interconnected they were; regardless of age, social standing or race, it was the connections that made this book sparkle. The main description had it right - a good comparison to Steel Magnolias and The Help.
Steel Magnolias and The Help. This is a book that is set mostly in the south - Georgia. I've never been but it makes me want to go. Both Steel Magnolias and The Help are books that highlight the relationships between women.
The characters accents and voices. My imagination isn't that good. She brings life to their voices in a way that I wouldn't have heard in my own head.
Lots that made me laugh.
The scene that moved me was the scene where Oletta doesn't want to share her potato salad and CeeCee figures out how much Oletta really needs her love and friendship.
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