This series is one I've read close to a dozen times. This is by far by favorite book series. I could read these on repeat, and that's no exaggeration.
This series has 5 books- The Selection, The Elite, The One, The Heir, and The Crown. In my opinion the first three are the best, after that the POV (Point of View) switches to the main character's daughter who I find extremely bratty and self-centered but she does get better.
The first three books follow the story of America Singer, a girl who was selected to participate in the Selection among 34 other women. The Selection was made so the heir to the throne (Prince Maxon) can find his future wife. However America is still in love with her ex-boyfriend Aspen who miraculously arrives at the castle after being drafted for the military. The entirety of the first three books is America struggling to decide if she wants to be with Aspen or Maxon, and realizing the struggles she would face if she became royalty.
The last two books follows Eadlyn Schreave, the heir to the throne and daughter of Maxon. She is the first ever woman to be the heir after beating her twin brother by 7 minutes. The people of the kingdom are struggling with new rules in the kingdom and to calm her subjects, Eadlyn must participate in a Selection of her own. She has 35 bachelors at her disposal, but will she fall in love with any of them or send them all running?
SPOILER (YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED)
In this dystopian universe the people are separated by caste, which determine the jobs they can work as. America Singer is Five which means she works in the arts, but she loves Aspen a six, and if she was to marry him than she would be a six too and they'd live in poverty. America puts her name in to be part of the selection at Aspen's request, he wanted to make sure he wasn't keeping her from any opportunities. After trying to coax a proposal out of Aspen by using a huge meal, he breaks up with America out of pride. America is whisked away to the castle where she meets her new best friend Marlee (aka the best person ever). America ends up feeling trapped and escapes to the castle garden where she meets Prince Maxon, a day before the rest of the girls. But it wasn't a romantic encounter, she ended up calling him spoiled and the castle a cage. Nevertheless, Maxon doesn't eliminate her. They end up having a special friendship that they are able to communicate through tugging on their ear to signal they want to meet up. After sometime the couple shares a kiss and then the next day they go to watch a movie but- OH NO, ASPEN'S HERE! America's feelings get even more twisted as the series continues, but in the end Maxon proposes to America and she accepts but just as Maxon is returning with the second contender for final place, he sees America in Aspen's arms. He automatically gets defensive and calls off their engagement and settles for the other finalist. At the ceremony where Maxon would show off his bride to be rebels attack and Maxon blocks a bullet from hitting America. She's brought away and after the fight she goes to find Maxon as the new king after his father and mother die in the attack. He re-proposes to her and she accepts once again. That's where the third story ends. These were my favorite books out of the series because I loved America's POV, her feelings are mixed up and hard to sort through but from the first moment you can feel what she has with Maxon. Yes, Aspen did have a happy ending. Aspen ended up marrying one of America's maids and Marlee (aka the best person ever) gets married to another guard and she is the only bridesmaid at America's wedding. This is the best summary of these books so I highly recommend reading them because there's a whole love story between Marlee and the guard that I didn't mention much of. My favorite point in these books was when Maxon and America go dancing in the rain, at this point they were required to stay inside but Maxon brings America to the roof so she can feel the rain after so many sunny days.
IN the last two books the main character is Eadlyn Schreave, the daughter of America and Maxon. To be perfectly frank, I almost never reread these books. While Eadlyn has great character development, I hated her character through most of it. She was just so stuck-up, bossy, and oblivious to the world around her. The book starts by introducing a problem following the dissolving of the castes (remember these from the beginning of the first summary), the issue is that the new generation doesn't get the issue. To distract the public, Eadlyn participates in a selection, except all the men are competing for her hand. Her original plan is to make everyone quit but after her mom (America) falls sick and the land is at unrest, she decides to go all the way through with the selection. She comes to two final contenders, a sweet Swedish boy with broken English and Kyle the son of Marlee. But issues are pressing in from every side, there's another man who wants her attention so he can have the crown and Eadlyn will do anything to stop it, but Eadlyn is in love with the Swedish boys translator. What will she do? In the final announcement she admits her feelings to her dad and he convinces her to go with the translator. She does and finishes the announcement by saying that the government will become a constitutional monarchy. Hooray! In the end these were a great ending to the story but I felt that Eadlyn's romance was rushed and that she didn't have enough reasons to love the translator. I may just be biased because I loved the two finalists. I mean the Swedish boy was a chef! And he was adorable! Eadlyn did get less selfish, especially after she changed the government but she still was self-absorbed which I just can't get over, but I guess that comes with being royalty.