Here is something I never thought I would say: “Tik Tok made me do it.” I hate to admit I’m on Tik Tok in the first place, but since I found out about Netflix buying the movie rights to “The Selection” series by Kiera Cass from the app, I thought I’d give you guys my impressions of the novel and whether or not it could be movie-worthy.
Now, I didn’t read this novel because of some weird Tik Tok trend. I had already read the series years ago, like in high school. The news of the series adaptation made me want to re-read the first novel because I couldn’t exactly remember what it was about nor if it would make a good movie or flop like the other unsuccessful YA novel to film adaptations I’ve seen in the past few years, which I’ve written about at least two (“The Darkest Minds” and “All the Bright Places”) in my career as a review writer for the Arka Tech. Producers just have some way about them that leads them to ruin some decently written novel. It’s unfortunate, really.
Regardless of the impending doom of the movie unless Netflix can somehow pull a banger out of their ass, “The Selection” follows America Singer when she gets selected to compete for Prince Maxon’s hand in marriage (does this sound familiar?). Sent to the extravagant capital and thrown into the politics of marrying into royalty isn’t at all what America wants. Nope. What she wants is waiting back home for her, Aspen, the handsome boy in a caste below her.
However, the longer America stays in the competition the more money her family receives on her behalf. America strikes a deal with Prince Maxon: let her stay until the end and she’ll help him select the right girl. But, as the competition drags on, a small part of America wants it to be her.
I’m torn. On one hand, Aspen it totally yummy with his darker complexion and work-ridden hands. That forbidden love? It always gets me. Forbidden love makes a relationship 1000% more compelling. Secret meetings. Hidden kisses. Steamy looks from across the room. Aspen, I want you for America.
On the other hand, I also want Prince Maxon for my girl America. While America and Prince Maxon lack the electricity found with Aspen and America, there is something about the prince that screams S.O.S. He’s holding himself back from all the girls, afraid to reveal his true self, but not to America. As Maxon reveals himself to America, she realizes they have more in common. More to laugh about. More deep talks to have. Maxon takes the crown for America on the personality level.
America’s relationships with the two boys are what drives this novel to be freaking good. Combined with the exceptional writing of someone who builds a world through fantastic descriptions and history, watching America struggle with her feelings with two extremely handsome men tore at my emotions. I waited for the moments with Aspen and begged for America and Maxon to kiss. I loved it!
Would that love transfer to a movie? I’m not sure. The characters in the novel are in their late teens, and I’m 21, so the choice of actors would play into whether or not the movie is something I would watch. I’d want the actors to be closer to my age, or at least, look closer to my age. Just the idea of watching younger actors/actresses play America, Aspen and Maxon and respectively mack on each other would NOT do it for me. I want the steamy scenes in the novel to be amplified by older looking actors, not diminished by undeveloped teens.
Everyone on Tik Tok has their own wishes for the cast, and all of them are a fat “no” for me. Don’t get me wrong, Sadie Sink is a good actress, but she is not my America. And I think that’s where this movie will go wrong: the choice of actors/actresses. We’ll have a battle of giving younger audiences a PG movie and giving the OG readers the PG-13+ they want.
My final verdict: the movie has potential as long as they cast it right. I’d give it a watch if I thought the cast was appropriate, but I won’t know that for months to come. In the meantime, I’ll read the other two books in the series and maybe the spinoff. I recommend you do the same.