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  • Writer's pictureHannah Zunic

Saying Goodbye to Illéa: A Review of The One by Kiera Cass

Hello, Book Nerds! Welcome back to Reading Has Ruined My Life or welcome if you are new. As always, my name is Hannah and I am your captain on this journey into my bookcases.


I hope everyone enjoyed last week’s Versus Match. I had lots of fun writing it and listening to my friends debate who the best literary detective of all time is. It’s always a good time when there’s a new Versus Match on the blog. But as for this week, we’re back in the world of Illéa.


The pretty ballgowns, gorgeous tiaras, and dystopian politics are here at the ready! Please give a warm welcome to the stage The One by Kiera Cass!

Book cover of The One by Kiera Cass.

As always, a spoiler alert is in order. This is your one and only warning cause if you’ve read any other review of mine then you know I love to spoil things. I also must issue a quick content and trigger warning. Once again, this series heavily features a physically and mentally abusive character. This character is important to the plot and cannot be avoided. With that, let’s get to the synopsis.


America Singer has made it to the top four of the Elite by the skin of her teeth. Maxon has admitted that he still has feelings for her, but doesn’t fully trust her after all the stunts she pulled in The Elite. But America stays. She’s in love in Maxon and willing to fight for him.

Pixel Hearts
They're soulmates. Also Team Maxon by the way.

Things will not be easy though. King Clarkson is on the war path. He does not believe America is worthy of the crown. She’s loud, outspoken, forward thinking, a wild card, and unwilling to bend to his will. She’s not backing down though! Like I said, she’s going to fight! Plus, it’s very helpful that one of the rebel groups, the people, and Italian monarchy like her, want to help her, and eventually see her on the throne.


At this point, America’s life in the palace is truly crazy. There are still the rebel attacks to worry about, the remaining four of the Selection are being put through tons of tests, the king is undermining her, there's all the politics and revolutions going on, and she’s still keeping her relationship with Aspen a secret. Time is running out when it comes to keeping her and Aspen’s relationship a secret. This secret is a ticking time bomb.

Blinking guy meme.
Girlie, it's been months. You can't keep your secret boyfriend a secret forever.

Will America figure out who she wants to be with? Will either rebel group succeed in their mission? Will America get caught with Aspen? Will she win the Selection? Find out in The One.


The One has always been my favorite of The Selection series. This one has so much action, America is at her lowest, there are issues between her and both love interests. Plus, as I said in the synopsis, the rebels and politics have reached a head. There’s just so much going on and I love it for that. Yes, I realize I’m doing a horrible job at describing this book and everything going on in it, but you gotta trust me here.


As always, let’s start this review with the characters; namely America. Is she annoying as always? Yes. I know that’s not something I brought up in any of my other reviews on this series, but I think if you’re here for a review of this book ten years after it came out then you’ve probably already read this series. So yes, America is hella annoying at times; this entry especially. She’s annoying, stubborn, and selfish. She knows she’s in love with Maxon, but keeps stringing Aspen along just in case Maxon doesn’t choose her. Girl knows Maxon is in love with her. There is no way she doesn’t know that. He has said multiple times he would end the Selection if she said so! So despite this being my favorite entry of the series, it is also the one where America makes me bang my head on the table the most.


Ugh, I do love her. She’s a stubborn teenaged girl who is out there making mistakes. Her mistakes are simply being publicized to the entire nation. Her frontal lobe is not fully formed, she has not committed anything egregious, I feel I cannot hold anything against her. Except maybe stringing Aspen along for three books, he didn’t deserve that.

Shady tea sip.
Stop being mean to Aspen. Stop stringing him along!

If you haven’t guessed, a lot of the problems the characters go through could be solved with better communication. No one properly communicates. One simple sit down conversation would have solved every issue the main characters had. Me as a teen really appreciated all the drama The One. I still appreciate all the drama to this day, I live for drama, but I am also an adult who knows how to communicate, and I’m telling you, the love triangle’s issues could be solved with one long, open, honest conversation!


This is now a PSA: please communicate with your friends, family, and significant others. Communication can and will solve a lot of problems. There’s a reason people say “communication is key.” Thank you, this has been a PSA. Back to your regularly scheduled review.


I still love The One and The Selection series in general. This is my comfort book series. Sometimes I want to bang my head on a table cause the main character is being dumb, but I ain’t ever met a smart teenager and I’m gonna guess you haven’t either.


To end today’s review, we must look at this book’s ending. It must come as no surprise that Maxon and America end up together. Readers have been waiting for this moment since the first book. Now, these two do run into a lot of troubles right at the end; namely Maxon learning Aspen is America’s ex-boyfriend and a very deadly rebel attack happening. Now I have seen some reviews of The One that argues things get wrapped up too neatly and too quickly. I’d argue things get wrapped up pretty well.


I’ll agree that things are too neat in the sense America’s biggest advisory, King Clarkson, is killed. That is my biggest issue with the ending. Her life is easy breezy now that he’s dead. And yes, she and Maxon still haven’t had a proper conversation about Aspen and I would have liked to seen that conversation cause it’s something that is very much needed. But seeing as they pair have a near death experience, I can accept the latter issue and lack of communication skills. The final rebel attack most definitely brought everyone’s true feelings to the surface and past problems do not matter in the moments after. Outside of the easy way out deaths, I’m satisfied with the ending of this series.


Throughout this little mini-series, I’ve most definitely read The Selection and written my reviews with nostalgia goggles on. There are many moments in this series that aren’t necessarily good. But I still love this series. It’s my comfort series, with my comfort characters, and I know every beat and every scene. Realistically I don’t know if this series holds up, but for me it always will.


With that, I shall bid you all adieu. I shall see you all again next week with another new review. I’m done with my romance era so be prepared for a new genre to hit the blog.


Until then, stay safe, wash your hands, and read some good books for me.

Bears waving.
See y'all then, bye!

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