America Singer lives in a world with 'castes.' They are numbers. There are 8 castes. The higher the number, the poorer. She is a Five, and has just received a notice stating that the prince of Illéa, Maxon Schreave, will be holding the Selection, a competition for the prince's hand and a crown. Despite pressure from her mother, Magda and sister, May, America has no interest in entering the competition, because she already has Aspen, her secret boyfriend. She has been secretly seeing him in her tree house for two years. Aspen begs America to take up the opportunity at a better life, although America wishes to marry him no matter what, and does not want the Prince. Her mother bribes her later, which is keeping half of what she earns at her jobs (she is a musician like her mother). America also agrees that she will enter after Aspen told her to try. This leads America to entering the Selection and later into the palace where she has to compete with 35 other girls to win the prince's heart.
At first, America doesn't like the Prince. But slowly, their friendship develops. Eventually, America realizes that she likes him. This leads to the pair kissing, on America's balcony one day. This was Maxon's first kiss. Meanwhile, rebels constantly attack the palace, leading weak-hearted competitors to leave, but also makes things tense, especially when the rebels seem to be getting closer. Things also become tense in the competition when America starts to feel jealous of Maxon spending time with the other Selected. America eventually sees Aspen again when he enters the palace as a new member of the guard. He was drafted into the palaces defences where he earned top honors. Aspen's appearance confuses America's feelings even more and she begins to feel like she is still in love with him. Having any kind of romantic relationship with someone other than the prince during the competition is considered treason, and the punishment for treason can be as severe as death. Despite knowing the consequence, America can't help but be with Aspen.
Soon, six contestants are left. America is happy when she is chosen to be part of the Elite. With this in mind, she tells Aspen that she cannot continue their romantic liaisons. Instead of getting discouraged, Aspen claims that he will fight even harder to win her love again over Maxon. The book ends with America finally realizing that she is exactly where she ought to be — among The Elite. However America still does not reject Aspen completely, fearing being sent home and not having anyone to go back to.
|Country||United States and Canada|
|Series||The Selection Series|
|April 24, 2012|
|Media type||Print, ebook, audiobook|
|Followed by||The Elite , The One, and The Heir The Prince, The Queen, The Guard|