America Singer, a Five, and Aspen Leger, a Six, meet in their secret treehouse to talk to each other, taking every chance they get. Mer brings food for Aspen, who is scarce in that department. They sneak out past Illéa's curfew of 9pm so that Aspen can convince Mer to fill out an application to join the Selection where she and 34 other girls will try to be Prince Maxon's future bride.
Enter the Selection. I think you should do it.
The Singer family watches the weekly Capitol Report every Friday on live television broadcasted around the country. This week they announce the selected girls and America's name is called as one of the participants. Her entire family is extremely excited.
Ahhh!!! Oh my goodness!
The Selection: the following girls are selected... America Singer
Before the selected were announced, Aspen had broken America's heart. The Singer family along with all of town had gathered to send Mer off. Mitsy, one of the people assigned to guide the 35 girls, is leading Mer to the car, but then Aspen appears asking her to stay. Before she can think and decide, she turns away and leaves.
Goodbye America! Good luck! Woo!
On America's first night in the palace, she gets extremely homesick and nauseous. Prince Maxon demands the guards to let her outside and she stumbles out to the garden. Maxon and Mer meet for the first time and Mer expresses hatred to him for calling her "dear." Mer has mixed emotions about how she feels about the prince and her past feelings for Aspen continue to linger.
I am not your dear!
Are you all right, my dear?
As the ladies head to breakfast, a sudden cluster of noise comes from the doors. The rebels had broken into the property of the palace and they were under attack for the first time since the girls arrived. Mer and Maxon had formed deep connections since the first night and they converse about the rebels privately in the corner. Many of the girls huddle together with some scared and some in shock.
Maxon stops by Mer's room door to lead her to the movie theater in the palace. As they walk through the hallway, they see Aspen, who had drafted into the army. He had told Mer before the Selection that he was considering, but she never thought he would pull through. Maxon does not know the history between them and continues to make small talk with Aspen. Mer's feelings begin to overwhelm her and her indecisiveness overtakes .