June 12, 2014

Book Review: The One (The Selection #3) by Kiera Cass

The One by Kiera Cass
Publication Date: May 6th 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
The Selection changed the lives of thirty-five girls forever. And now, the time has come for one winner to be chosen.

America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown—or to Prince Maxon's heart. But as the competition approaches its end 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.

From the very first page of The Selection, this #1 New York Times bestselling series has captured readers' hearts and swept them away on a captivating journey... Now, in The One, Kiera Cass delivers a satisfying and unforgettable conclusion that will keep readers sighing over this electrifying fairy-tale long after the final page is turned.

“Break my heart. Break it a thousand times if you like. It was only ever yours to break anyway.”

I have never expected myself to love this book. I was so surprised to find the series so addicting that I found myself finishing each book in one sitting only. Maybe a factor to consider for the success of this series is that it was like a fairytale. I have to admit that even I, a 25 year old woman, still have a fascination for fairytales – for princes, specifically – and that someday, I’d get to meet my own prince and he’ll swept me off my feet and bring me to his Kingdom, we’ll get married and we’ll end up with a happily ever after. 

Since this will be the final installment for the Selection series, and this book is still part-Dystopian, I was kind of afraid that I might get disappointed after finishing it – that the author might kill my most favorite character or that characters will unexpectedly end up with other characters. Well, I’m happy to inform you that, though there well some characters who will be gone by the end of this book, the ending is I think the happiest ending for any dystopian novel I’ve read so far.




“Say it, America. Please. Tell me you love me, that you want to be mine alone.”
“I can’t be yours alone with all the other girls here.”
“And I can’t send them home until I’m sure of your feelings.”
“And I can’t give you what you want while I know that tomorrow you could be doing this with Kriss.”

Since Kriss is slowly easing her way into Maxon’s heart, America is finding it difficult to hold on to her feelings for Max. She know that she wants Maxon, but will she give all her heart to him knowing that Maxon may be doing the same thing towards the other girls behind America’s back? Us women always need assurances. We need to be told that we are loved. We need proofs that we are the only one you want. Men may not be able to understand it, but that’s how our brain works. We want you to see us like we are the center of your universe – like we are the only one that exists when you’re with us. It may seem silly, but there will always be insecurities lurking behind our shadows.

 

And there we were, in the background of it all, holding on to one another. The Perfectionist, the Sweetheart, the Diva . . . and me.
Although they were fighting for Maxon’s heart, they found a way not to get in each other’s way. Of the 3 other girls competing for Maxon,I think I came to love Celeste the most. In this book, she got to reveal her true self – her worries and her fears. She worries that she might be thrown out of the Twos once she became older because she cannot perform as a model if she doesn’t have the looks to go with it. I loved her because she became America’s confidante. She uplifted her self-esteem, taught her how to be her true self and not to worry because even her knows that America holds a part of Maxon’s heart that no one among the other contestants does. I love her because her personality grew and matured towards the end. I liked how she sided with America, how she was loved by people, and how she can be a real princess if she just saw on the other people’s perspective. It’s just so sad what happened to her in the end.





This book made me realize that my idea of the king finally accepting America and Maxon together is a hopeless case. Urgh. He is so infuriating. And what he did to Maxon was unacceptable. No father should treat his son or child like that.



I love you, kitten. So much that I can’t find the words to say it. I could paint it maybe, but I can’t fit a canvas in this envelope. Even then it would never do you justice. I love you beyond paint, beyond melodies, beyond words. And I hope you will always feel that, even when I’m not around to tell you so.

I fully prepared myself for some twists in this book since it’s the last installment in the series but it still hasn’t stopped me from tearing up because of what happened to America’s dad. His letter to America was so heartbreaking. And it also revealed a lot of secrets that he almost brought with him to his grave. 

However, his death has made Aspen, America, and Maxon realized what they really wanted in real life. I am not saying that what happened was something to be happy about but it certainly brought positive things to the three main characters. 



“Mer, listen to me. When I said that I’d always love you, I meant it. And I think if we had stayed in Carolina, we would have gotten married, and we would have been happy. Poor, but happy.” He smiled sadly. “But we didn’t stay in Carolina. And you’ve changed. I have, too. You were right when you said that I’d never given anyone else a chance, and why would I have ever bothered except for all this happening?

“It’s my instinct to fight for you, Mer. It took me a long time to see that you didn’t want me to do that anymore. But once I did, I realized I didn’t want to fight for you either.”

I stared at him, stunned.

“You’ll always have a piece of my heart, Mer, but I’m not in love with you anymore. I think sometimes that you still need me or want me, but I don’t know if that’s right. You deserve better than me being with you because I feel obligated.”

I sighed. “And you deserve better than being someone I settle for.”
Theirs was a bittersweet romance destined to end. It would have been a beautiful one had America chosen to withdraw from the competition, but they were destined to meet other people. 

Though it may have taken both of them too long to realize that what they felt towards each other were a thing of the past, I think it was just the right time for their hearts and minds to finally accept the truth and move on. What Aspen said to her at the end, was so touching. They were freed from a past that both of them cling onto.


America realized that she really loves Maxon and is so afraid to say it to him. Thanks to her sister who made her see the light. She was so anxious about getting back in the palace to tell him how she really feel.
I want everything with you, America. I want the holidays and the birthdays, the busy seasons and lazy weekends. I want peanut butter fingerprints on my desk. I want inside jokes and fights and everything. I want a life with you.
 I’ve been thinking of our first kiss. I suppose I should say first kisses, but what I mean is the second, the one I was actually invited to give you. Did I ever tell you how I felt that night? It wasn’t just getting my first kiss ever; it was getting to have that first kiss with you. I’ve seen so much, America, had access to the corners of our planet. But never have I come across anything so painfully beautiful as that kiss. I wish it was something I could catch with a net or place in a book. I wish it was something I could save and share with the world so I could tell the universe: this is what it’s like; this is how it feels when you fall.
I also miss your smell. I miss your perfume drifting off your hair when you turn to laugh at me or your scent radiating on your skin when we walk through the garden. It’s intoxicating. So I went to your room to spray your perfume on my handkerchief, another silly trick to make me feel like you were here. And as I was leaving your room, Mary caught me. I’m not sure what she was looking after since you’re not here; but she saw me, shrieked, and a guard came running in to see what was wrong. He had his staff gripped, and his eyes flashed threateningly. I was nearly attacked. All because I missed your smell.
No scolding from a tutor, no lashing from my father, no isolation in my youth has ever hurt me so much as you separating yourself from me.
I wish I was as true an artist as you so that I could find a way to tell you what you’ve become to me. America, my love, you are sunlight falling through trees. You are laughter that breaks through sadness. You are the breeze on a too-warm day. You are clarity in the midst of confusion. You are not the world, but you are everything that makes the world good. Without you, my life would still exist, but that’s all it would manage to do. You said that to get things right one of us would have to take a leap of faith. I think I’ve discovered the canyon that must be leaped, and I hope to find you waiting for me on the other side.I love you, America.
Maxon, for once, admitted how wrong he was not to utter those three most important words to America, where all her doubts came from. The distance brought them back together. It made him realize how much he’ll miss if he gave up on her; how real his feelings were; how important her companionship meant; how empty his life would be if he doesn’t choose her. 

Maxon’s letters made me wish that all the men out there knew how to write a letter too, because let’s accept the fact that most of the guys out there don’t know how to write one. I love the letters. It was so sweet, I can’t help but swoon! He’s a keeper for sure, and it’s good that America knows it.

 

“I’ll love you until my very last breath. Every beat of my heart is yours. I don’t want to die without you knowing that.”
“I love you. I should have told you a long time ago. Maybe we could have avoided so many stupid mistakes if I had. Then again, sometimes I think it was all those obstacles that made me love you so deeply.” 
In those seconds, I was mourning everything I’d lost. How I’d never get to see you walk down an aisle toward me, how I’d never get to see your face in our children, how I’d never get to see streaks of silver in your hair. But, at the same time, I couldn’t be bothered. If me dying meant you living how could that be anything but good?”
And just when Maxon is so ready to give up on America and choose Kriss, an unexpected event happened. They were attacked by the Southern Rebels. Because I was really annoyed by what Maxon did, I thought it would do him good if America got shot or something. (Yeah, I know. My bad. :D But that would teach him a lesson though. ) 

But in a way, the obstacles that came their way, bonded them forever. The One tells us a lesson about humility, trust, and forgiveness. It tells us that if you love someone, tell her/him. Do not wait for a sign or for him/her to say it first because we don’t know what’s in store for us. Life is short. We’ll never know what’s going to happen next, so as much as possible, show them how important they are. I love how everything fell into its rightful place in the end. It was really like a fairy tale. Amazing book. It’s definitely worth the all the back pains for reading it in one-sitting.

 

You are denying me your love. It’s the only thing I’ve wanted in this entire competition, and you still hold back. I keep waiting for you to say it, and you won’t. If you couldn’t say it out loud in front of him, fine. But if you had simply agreed, that would have been good enough for me.
It’s hard to know everything about people close to you, even the people you love the most.
I’m going to love you more than any man has ever loved a woman, more than you ever dreamed you could be loved. I promise you that. 
“What am I supposed to call you?”

“Your Royal Husbandness. It’s required by law, I’m afraid.”
“If you live, I’ll let you call me your dear. I won’t complain, I promise.” 


 Kiera Cass 

100 Things She Loves:


Being married. Cake. The smell of Autumn. Motherhood. Books. Elephants. Back rubs. On demandmovies. Actually going out to movies. Faith. Cinnamon rolls. My family. Butterflies. When my kitchen is clean. Crayons. Pink. Tote bags. Dancing. Organizing via color coordination. That my wedding dress was tea length, not floor. Baking. My house. Writing utensils. Paper. India. The sound of water. Making videos. Buttons. The word Episcopalian. Making people laugh. Layering clothes. British accents. Pinterest. Animation. Fireworks. The smell of the Ocean. My wedding rings. Aprons. Reasons to get dressed up. Sex. Pop music. Stars. Taking walks. Daydreaming. Stickers. School Spirit. My friends. Living in a small town. Japan. Singing. Painting my toenails. Pranks/ practical jokes. Painting. Stretch canvas. Costumes. Dipping my fingers in melted wax. Style. Soda. Spending an hour typing at a coffee shop. Musicals. Back to school season. Mopeds. Good hair days. Naps. Not walking up but looking at a beautiful staircase. Driving alone. My ankles. Playlists. Spending entire days in pajamas. Holidays. Telling stories. Spontaneity. Theme parks. Bookshelves. The word copacetic. Boxes. Empty journals. Surprises. Doing things in groups. Doing things alone. Getting real mail. Decorating. Small forks. A good hug. Gift cards. New Years Goals. Going out to dinner. When someone else remembers some great story about me/us that I’ve forgotten. Toy stores. Fireplaces. Breakfast foods. Journaling. Crying for a good reason. Doorbells. Pointless adventures. Voting. My birthday. Reasons to make wishes. Recycling.


Read my review of the first two books:

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