For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in the palace and compete for the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon.
But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.
Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself- and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.
Although this story was a bit predictable (and not in a “this is a fairytale retelling” kinda way) I still liked it. The love triangle is underdeveloped, and I don’t think Maxon or Aspen are fully developed (and America’s relationship with Aspen seems to have little motivation or history that explains it, so it seems rather tenuous), but even though this story is about the love triangle I really enjoyed the plot of America discovering herself and trying to figure out what she wants and who she is while still protecting her family and friends. The worldbuilding seems solid, at least what we see of it. I’m not sure where Illéa is located, or if it consists of all of current day US, but what details we do get are dealt out in a manner that seems neither heavy-handed nor authoritarian. I felt we had just enough information to get the story without having long and boring exposition sections (the only part that even comes close is the “history lesson”). The dystopian aspects are a bit shrouded in mystery, both from the reader and from America, but it isn’t developed far enough to feel like a real plot line so I can’t comment much on that. I was a bit upset at the abrupt ending to the book, it felt less like a well-crafted cliffhanger and more like the editor just chopped a longer book in half, but there was enough excitement in the book and I fell in love with America so I can’t wait to see where the second book takes her!