America Singer gets a letter and learns that she has the opportunity to be a part of the Selection. Although she does not want to be apart of the competition, her mother and her secret boyfriend, Aspen, insist that she go. They both just want her and her family to have a better life without having to worry about things they need like food.
America gets picked to be apart of the Selection. Assuming she won't be there for long, she decides to make the most of it and not think about Aspen. The first night, she meets Prince Maxon. She tells him that she really doesn't have feeling for him but she wants to stay and will help him with choosing the right girl to marry. He agrees and starts the beginning of their friendship.
"No, I'm not choosing him or you. I'm choosing me."
America starts to develop feelings for Maxon. Meanwhile, new guards are appointed because of the recent attacks from the rebel groups on the castle. One of the guards just happen to be Aspen. America realizes that she still loves Aspen while her feelings continue to grow for Prince Maxon.
There is a huge attack on the castle where the rebels get into the castle walls. Everyone has to hide underground until they leave. Prince Maxon decides to narrow it down the the Elite, which is 10 girls. But instead of 10 he narrowed it down to 6. America happens to be one of the 6 that stays which surprises her and Aspen since he thought that America didn't like Prince Maxon.
America is conflicted with the choice on whether she wants to be with Aspen or Prince Maxon. She said to Aspen that she was choosing herself. She doesn't know what her decision is yet but she wants to take time for herself. She wanted to decide what was best for her.