America Singer, a five in the social class; meaning she can only be an artist, musician, photographer, performer, etc. She lives in relative poverty in the province of Carolina. The story is set a while after WWIV. Now, the U.S. is called Illea and is a monarchy.
America is chosen for the Selection, meaning she has to go to the palace along with 34 other girls, who will all fight to be the future princess and be married to Prince Maxon. She was persuaded to sign up, anyway. On her way there, she meets her new best friend Marlee.
Things between America and Maxon are getting better and better, she is easily his favorite. Until America's first love, Aspen, shows up at the palace as one of the guards.
Maxon announces who the Elite are. America is chosen as one of the Elite, meaning they are down to the final six. Because they are down to so little people, the rebels (that have been an issue for some time) start attacking civilians by caste.
The Southern rebels (the worst kind of rebel) attack the palace on the day of the proposal ceremony. They shoot Celeste in the head and start to shoot others, too. Maxon is shot and badly injured. America doesn't even know he is alive until the next day. Sadly, both the king and the queen are killed, as well. The only way anyone was still alive was due to the Northern rebels (who were secretly their allies).