Something Really Amazing: A Letter to the Women of The Selection Series

This is the latest in my collection of letters to female characters who’ve inspired me throughout my life as a fangirl. If you have a character you’d like to write a letter to, click here for details about The Fan Mail Project!

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Source: bookishbarrister.wordpress.com

To the women of the Selection series:

You stand out. Young Adult fiction is an ever-expanding genre, and many series have been created over the last handful of years about a brave girl who fights a corrupt government—and has to choose between two very different but very attractive male suitors as she does so. Even in stories that are about things other than fallen societies and uprisings, there seems to be a trend in many Young Adult novels: The girl stands alone. Yes, there might be female family members who are important to the main heroine or one close female friend or mentor. However, the central female character is often a loner or a girl who’s much closer to the young men around her than other young women.

Thank you for being part of a different kind of story.

I spent the summer I turned 26 reading nothing but Young Adult books in an attempt to prove that this genre isn’t something to put down, but is instead filled with beautiful works of literature to be cherished by readers of all genders and generations. That’s when I discovered The Selection, The Elite, and The One. More than any other books I read that summer, those stayed with me, and it was because of you, the women of this world. Yes, this series had sweeping romance, action, and sociopolitical commentary. But it also had something I’d never seen before in a Young Adult series: a plethora of female characters who are incredibly different but come to support, forgive, protect, and genuinely love each other.

So often women are taught to compare themselves to other women and to see themselves as competition—especially competition for male attention and affection. And, at first, that’s the world many of you were thrust into—selected to compete for the hand and heart of Prince Maxon. You were expected to see each other as enemies, to immediately judge each other and judge yourselves in comparison to each other, and to put each other down in an attempt to build yourselves up. And some of you (I’m looking at you, Celeste.) did exactly that for far too long.

But some of you immediately chose to defy expectations and become friends. Thank you, America and Marlee, for showing everyone who picks up these books that—even when put in an environment that is created to pit women against each other—friendships can blossom. You never had ulterior motives with each other or gossiped behind each other’s backs. Instead, the two of you represent the best of what female friendship can be: warm, supportive, and life-changing. America, your desperate attempt to save Marlee from being beaten was one of the most moving moments in the entire series. It was a testament to the things women will do to help one another and protect one another. And it was beautiful to see in The Heir that yours became a lifelong friendship, the kind so many women find but so few pieces of media celebrate.

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Fangirl Thursday: Summer Love

I love the fall for many reasons—the return of football and hockey, the abundance of pumpkin-flavored treats, and new seasons of my favorite TV shows. Fall is when a sense of routine returns to my life, and the creature of habit in me loves that.

But there’s something to be said for summer and its lazy hours in air-conditioned houses, filled with time to explore the media we simply don’t have time to consume during the rest of the year. Summer is the perfect time to fall in love with a new book (or series of books) or binge-watch that TV show you keep saying you’ll “get around to eventually.”

In this strange space between summer and fall, I find myself hopelessly in love with both a television series and a book series, and I have to talk about them or else I might explode from too many unexpressed fangirl feelings.

I had a list of television shows I wanted to start this summer, but only one ended up making the cut: Masters of Sex. Thanks to Heather’s effusive praise of this show and its incredible leading lady (the fabulous Lizzy Caplan) over the past year, I bought the first season on DVD last week to tide me over until the rest of my dramas return at the end of this month. I’m not so sure I’ll be able to make it last until the end of the month, as I’ve made it to the halfway point of the first season after only two nights spent watching it. I can’t stop, and I don’t want to.

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