This book was recommended to me on goodreads and I wasn't sure about it but then I saw it again in a tumblr post of different books people would enjoy if they enjoyed certain other books or certain plot devices and I decided to get it and I'm really happy I did.
The concept of this book is kind of just like reality TV on steroids, and just like reality television it sucked me in and I had to know what America did next. I don't like love triangles and I was unaware there would be one in this book, but despite the fact that there was a love triangle, and it's pretty much going to be the main storyline of future books, it didn't really come through too strongly or even much at all in the majority of this book which was wonderful. I like knowing that a book that's main storyline is a love triangle can kind of turn it into a less important side note and I hope that it will continue that way through the next books with all the other secrets and drama it set up in this book. The thing that irritated me most about this book was that Aspen is given no good traits or real reason for why America loves him, and by extension why I should too, whereas Maxon is constantly being a good person and saying loveable things. Doing that so all the readers will want her to pick Maxon is fine, but it just makes it really unrealistic and it's ridiculous that someone as awesome as America would even love Aspen in the first place. My favourite character in this book was America, I love a good female heroine but the best thing about America is that she doesn't do big grand ridiculous acts of courage all the time, she's just a really nice person, who doesn't care about castes and wants everyone to be safe and happy, no matter their birth or circumstance. I would recommend this to people who like love stories, and fans of The Hunger Games who liked the love triangle in it.
America Singer is a Five, in a country where castes are now ranked like numbers with royalty as Ones and criminals as Eights, she's in of the poorest castes that make their meager living as artists. When she recieves a letter in the mail that she can apply for the Selection, a competition where a girl from each of the 35 districts is drawn at random to go live at the palace to compete with each other for the Prince's heart, her mother insists she put her name in so they might get an elevated status and some more money to live on. America doesn't want to enter as she has a secret boyfriend, Aspen, who is a Six but who she loves and wants to marry, but he also insists that she enter because she's worth it. On the day of her entry she runs into Aspen's mum who tells her she thinks he's going to propose to a girl because he's been saving all his money, America is so happy that she looks wonderful for her entry photo. The next night when she goes to meet Aspen she cooks him a wonderful meal and his pride is so wounded because she thinks he needs the food that he breaks up with her, then her name is called from her district to go into the Selection. Once there she quickly strikes up a friendship with Prince Maxon and she tells him the whole story of her and Aspen, as well as informing him of how people in the lower castes live which he uses to change policy, and he tells her the details of the constant rebel attacks and seiges and she tries to help him with them. Just as she's starting to believe she could fall in love with Maxon, Aspen appears as a royal guard and tells her he made a mistake in breaking up with her. There is a particularly severe and scary seige on the castle and Maxon then lowers the pool of girls down to 6 so as to not have as many of them in danger, America is one of them and when he explains why he kept each girl, due to her status, relations or popularity with the crowds, he says he didn't have a strategic reason for keeping her. When Aspen comes to her room that night she tells him that he can't kiss her and that she's going to work out what she wants, Aspen then says (of course) that he's not giving up this time.