YA fans are storming the castle (read: social media) and taking no prisoners. It all started when author Kiera Cass tweeted about getting off of a “very positive phone call” with Netflix, and now all of our timelines are awash in pastel gowns, red-headed girls, and pleas to Netflix in Portuguese (I still haven’t quite cracked the code on this one, but Cass seems to be very popular with people who speak Portuguese). The hashtag #NetflixGreenlightTheSelection is popping off all over Twitter and if you’re feeling very lost, alone, and confused, don’t worry, you’ve come to the right place.
So, let’s get into it. “The Selection” is a dystopian YA romance novel that was written by the aforementioned author Kiera Cass and published in 2012. It was quickly followed up with a handful of sequels including “The Elite” in 2013, “The One” in 2014, “The Heir” in 2015, and “The Crown” in 2016. The story follows the beautiful, young, red-headed America Singer (a bonkers name I will absolutely never be able to get out of my head). America lives in a dystopian society that has been sectioned off into castes from the “Ones” (i.e. rich people) to the “Eights” (i.e. poor people.) Against her better judgment, she enters into a contest called The Selection, which pits thirty-four girls against each other in a bid to win a prince’s heart and become royalty in their upsetting society. Lurking off in the distance are rebels who aren’t into all of the castes and the marriage competition, but they’re kind of secondary, the main draw is the romance with rules
Despite the fact that the first book in the series was published almost ten years ago, “The Selection” is the type of novel that has found a new life on BookTok and other reading recommendation platforms. It combines the dystopian aspects of “The Hunger Games,” “Uglies,” and “The Bachelor” with the romance of “The Bachelor” and also the vapidness of “The Bachelor” and the pretty dresses of “The Bachelor.”
Why Now? We Already Have The Bachelor
These comparisons aren’t an insult or a sneaky way of saying that “The Selection” is unoriginal, which wouldn’t be an insult anyway, since books, movies, or pieces of art can be both unoriginal and exemplary. It’s just a way of saying that “The Selection” is an easy read to recommend. It’s a multi-genre book that could satisfy a romance novel fan, a dystopia fan, and/or possibly even a fantasy fan with its descriptions of ballgowns, castles, and princes.
This book, and others like it, fall into multiple categories and tend to make up many of the titles that are recommended online. Which is actually one of the reasons I think books with multiple narrators are so popular right now. If you can throw the audience into the head of a few different characters with various things going on, then you can draw more folks in. But that’s a pet theory and it’s beside the point.
Due to its popularity and glamorous aesthetic, this isn’t the first time that “The Selection” has had a brush with adaptation. The series was headed to The CW in 2012, where Aimee Teegarden (“Friday Night Lights“) was originally cast as America. In 2013, The CW gave it another go and recast the role with Yael Grobglas (“Supergirl“) and then gave up on the series entirely. A couple of years later in 2015, Warner Bros. bought the film rights and hired Katie Lovejoy (“To All The Boys: Always and Forever“) to adapt the story. That project languished until Variety reported in 2020 that Haifaa Al-Mansour (“Wadjda“) was working on a “Selection” film for Netflix.
Obviously, the project is still in no man’s land if Cass has had to take to Twitter to revive her fans fervor, but stranger marketing tactics have worked in the past. Maybe by this time next year, we’ll all be dressing up as Ones and Eights for Halloween.
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