Book Review: The One

The One (The Selection #3)
Published By: HarperTeen
Publication Date: May 6, 2014
Page Count: 323
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
Audience: Young Adult - Dystopian

The One was a book that split me. On the one hand, I read it quickly and it was a fun read. On the other hand, I found it really frustrating; I found virtually all the characters difficult to like. They are petty, shallow, argumentative and fickle. I guess this is the nature of a competition to win a prince's hand in marriage, but I had hoped for more storytelling. America and Prince Maxon argue and make up in so many conversations that it got wearing and it made me question if they really liked each other at all, or whether it was just the shallow allure of the other that they liked. I understand that fights could seem like a spark of chemistry to some, but I feel wary about a message to young readers which encourages them to believe that if you love someone you will fight with them. I came around a little to them as a couple when they shared one or two quiet moments and genuinely learned a bit more about each other's character - a scene in Maxon's bedroom particularly springs to mind here. 

 Of all the characters, it was Aspen the guard and America's childhood sweetheart, and the maids Lucy and Anne that I loved the most.They seemed like truly good, loyal people. They had solid characters, discretion, and really taught America something about how to behave. I felt like the Prince could have learned something from all of them!! In previous installments, I found myself liking Maxon; he has some serious issues with his father, and he had to learn to stand up for himself as well as to discover who among the girls would be The One for him. That was understandable. But in this book, he held his love just out of reach and almost taunted America with it while he simultaneously romanced two/three girls. I felt that was verging on dispicable; to expect the girls to be open with him when he might just cast them out, and while he was literally whispering sweet nothings to all the other girls was foul behaviour. America wasn't forthcoming with him either though, and the two got into an unhealthy situation where they were holding out on saying their 'I Love You's to each other. Again, not my idea of a pair that is meant to be together. Perhaps its the selection process that I dislike here and not the characters, but none of this was endearing. I also felt like the selection process just dragged on. It seemed clear enough that Maxon had made his mind up to get rid of at least two of the four Elite girls, and he didn't do it. Instead he just let them all hang out, develop more insecurities and just waste time. At least Queen was present to make the Women's Room scenes a little more bearable. She was another highlight, although flawed in her adoration of such a villainous King. 

 I think there were some really amazing opportunities in The One to take a hard look at a society in the middle of civil unrest, and to really dig into some politics. Alas, I felt that every time the characters could have been looking outwards into the world, they turned inwards to admire themselves in a pretty dress. The King was blamed for this, because he didn't trust anyone apart from himself, but the book was crying out for more King-in-training moments. I liked how America took chances during televised events, and tried to be true to herself, but it wasn't enough. The entire book takes place in about 3 rooms, and it was stifling. This could have been a statement about the lives of royalty, but I wanted to see what the rebels were doing, and how the people reacted to each development in The Selection; this book needed a second perspective, perhaps from one of the girls who went home. 

 As for the end; I suppose it was pretty good. It fit the series and it was entertaining. People did well for themselves and it was happy. I just found the whole journey a little shallow and puffed up like a big ball gown full of petticoats. There's nothing wrong with that, but it won't develop you as a reader or a person.

The time has come for one winner to be crowned.

When she was chosen to compete in the Selection, America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown—or to Prince Maxon's heart. But as the end of the competition approaches, and the threats outside the palace walls grow more vicious, America realizes just how much she stands to lose—and how hard she'll have to fight for the future she wants.


  1. Oh, it's a shame this novella wasn't as up to par as the rest of the series! I really can't wait to dive into the Selection series because I have heard such great things about them.


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