Gorgeous dresses, spectacular meals, a handsome prince, and the chance to become a princess. It was everyone’s dream . . . and one girl’s nightmare.
America Singer only signed up for the Selection to appease her family and boyfriend. She didn’t expect or even want to be chosen. But it no longer matters what America wants. She is taken from her family and forced to join thirty-four other girls in the palace, all of whom are hoping the prince will chose to love and marry her.
America is the only girl in the competition who wants to lose, but as she gets to know Prince Maxon and becomes his friend, her desires become unclear, even to herself.
As the competition drags on, America is exposed to the rebel attacks that are a regular part of the royal family’s existence. While everyone else dismisses the attacks as random acts of violence attempted to usurp the throne, America begins to suspect there is something bigger going on.
America’s personality shines throughout the story. She is strong, funny, and unpredictable. Instead of acting like a love-sick teen, she talks to Prince Maxon as if he were the enemy. And while the other contestants faun over the prince, America stays true to herself. Although there are many predictable parts to this story—the mean girl, girl drama, a love triangle—the plot is still enjoyable. The story has the same premise as the television show The Bachelor, but the book is teen-friendly.
- America and her boyfriend kiss several times. In one scene they are lying in bed, fully clothed, kissing, and she thinks, “I was nowhere near ready to stop” and “this is why people got married so young.” Then when America thinks about marriage she worries because only the upper class can, “regulate having children.”
- When America is told the rules of the Selection, she has to sign a form stating that she is a virgin. She is told that she cannot refuse the prince, no matter what he asks, “dinner, outings, kisses—more than kisses—anything. Do not turn him down.”
- As part of the Selection, the girls talk about which girls the prince has kissed.
- Another girl who is part of the Selection asks what someone did to become so popular and then states, “A girl has more than one way she can pay for what she wants.”
- The queen’s sister tells one of the contestants about the queen having multiple miscarriages.
- Towards the end of the book, America and her ex-boyfriend are kissing in bed, fully clothed. Afterward she feels bad about cheating on the prince, even though the prince is dating other girls.
- When America thinks the prince is going to kiss her, she knees him in the groin.
- Several times rebels invade the palace and the girls must hide from them. Although the story describes the damage that the rebels cause, little actual fighting is described.
- During one of the rebel attacks, a maid is terrified when a rebel gets ahold of her, licks her face, and starts dragging her off somewhere. As part of the description, it says, “I’m not sure they (rebels) have very many women with them, if you catch my meaning.”
- There is some brief mention of the contestants fighting. One girl slaps another across the face, and a girl rips another’s dress.
Drugs and Alcohol
- America is offered sleep aides because she has trouble sleeping.
- America is described as running like a drunk.
- At a banquet, the queen’s sister is drinking alcohol, and one of the contestants talks about how the queen’s sister has had too much to drink.
- America wonders, “How the hell did I get here?”
- The word “damn” is used several times.
- Although religion is not discussed, it is illegal for people to have sex before marriage.