It's time for the Selection, a lottery where girls from all castes are chosen to compete for the chance to be Prince Maxon's wife. Seventeen-year-old America Singer has no interest in entering the Selection. All she wants is a future with her secret boyfriend, Aspen.
But what America wants doesn't seem to matter. Her mother is convinced America is meant for a life among the higher castes. And Aspen-who is a caste below her-insists that she enter the lottery for a chance at a better life. When, much to America's shock, she is actually Selected, Aspen breaks up with her, and she heads to the castle brokenhearted.
Suddenly America is swept up in a world of elaborate gowns, glittering jewels, and decadent feasts. Prince Maxon takes a special interest in her from day one-much to the outrage of the other girls. To the rest of the country, life at the castle looks like a fairy tale-but beneath the glamorous surface, fierce competition rages between the Selected girls, and the rebel attacks on the castle are becoming increasingly violent. America defiantly insists she has no interest in the Prince or in ruling-but as her friendship with Maxon blooms, the barrier she's put around her heart slowly begins to crumble.
Then, just as America is considering the possibility of a different kind of life, Aspen shows up at the palace as a member of the royal guard...