Think “Will and Kate: A Royal Wedding” meets “The Bachelor.” In the future in the country Illéa, which is defined by social hierarchy, 16-year-old America Singer gets a letter in the mail telling her it is time for the Selection. According to tradition, when a prince reaches the age of marriage all girls between the ages of 16 and 21 may apply for the Selection. After submitting applications, 35 girls will be chosen to move to the palace and, after a period of dating, the prince will choose his bride.
America has no desire to enter. She does not want to be a One, and Prince Maxon is sure to be stuffy and dull. However, she and her family are Sixes. If by some miracle she became a Selected, she would automatically become a Three, and her family would receive a stipend for each week she remained at the palace. Plus, she already has found love in Aspen. So reluctantly, America applies for the Selection. Then, for some reason she cannot fathom, she becomes a Selector. America moves to the palace with 34 other girls and finds that Prince Maxon might not be the arrogant prince she had assumed he’d be.
I appreciated America’s attitude toward the Selection. I was concerned going into the book that she would be a girl who loved all things sparkly and ruffled. Every girl can appreciate nice things, but sometimes I just want to wear some jeans. However, it quickly became apparent that she wasn’t enamored with all of that stuff. I did not realize that this book was part of a series and was expecting some concrete resolution, but I did not get much. The second book in the series is called The Elite.
Rated: Mild. There is almost no language in this book, only a few instances of mild language. However, there is some discussion of sex. In the country of Illéa it is illegal for unmarried people to have sex. America has some makeout sessions with Aspen, but they are not overly descriptive, and the two make the conscious decision to stop before things get out of control. When America becomes a Selector an advisor comes to her home to talk through the rules with her. During this they ask her if she is a virgin (which she is). The advisor also alludes to the unwritten rule that a Selector “should not refuse the prince.”