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.
Home, the place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household. Home used to be the colonies for Ann Russell, a fourteen years old who's never worked a day in her life. Born a year after the Boston Massacre, she's known only the revolution. Her family has remained by the king's side through it all, even when they lost. Her family had supplied military supplies throughout the war, as a reward the king had given them a grant to an island off the shore of Florida.
Ann stands on the edge of her ship, eagerly waiting to see what her new home would be. It's been 6 days since they left Boston and Ann is anxious to feel land again.
Hours later a spot of land comes into view, revealing what would be their new home. The island is surrounded by blue-clear water. The island itself looks as if it's never been touched, trees take up the entirety of the land.
“Where is the house?” Ann asks her mother who has come to stand with her daughter.
The mother's brow creases, “I don't know.”
“Strange,” Ann tells to no one in particular.
“This is your drop!” The captain yells to them from the helm. Two slaves begin to lower a small boat for them to row to shore.
“But where is the port?” Ann asks with a pout.
“There isn't one,” the man replies.
Ann and her mother share a look before her mother responds, “Then we mustn't be in the correct place, sir.”
“I assure you we are,” The captain replies.
Ann and her mother go back to staring at the island before getting into the boats with her brother and father. Their luggage is in the boat with their two slaves. They had expected to buy more slaves when they arrived. As they near the shore the island comes into better view and it is even clearer to see that no one has stepped foot on to the island.
“What is this?” Ann asks in disgust, “There's no house or pathway for heaven's sake!”
“Ma'am, we are just following orders,” the rower tells her kindly.
Ann grumpily crosses her arms, “Well I so hope your orders are wrong.”
They land with a small bump on to the sandy shore
“Goodbye and good luck,” one of the rowers says before the heading towards the ship again.
“Well isn't this a way to repay us for our loyalty!” Ann's father says angrily.
“It isn't fair papa!” Her little brother whines.
“Agreed,” Mother says with a snarl.
Papa takes a deep breath, “We mustn't get ahead of ourselves. Let's travel inward to find the housing.”
“Papa, I can go with you!” Ann says.
“Okay,” Papa nods then turns towards Ann's mother, “Elizabeth please take care of the slaves.”
Ann's mother nods.
“What about me papa?” Ann's brother asks.
“Help mother, okay?”
The little boy nods with a pout, with that Ann and her father set off.
Her father walks straight towards the trees and towards the most clear area, Ann close behind. The two trek through the woods, Ann getting increasingly more annoyed with each bug bite.
“This is pointless,” Ann complains. “There's nothing here!”
Her papa sits on the closest rock, “We can't give up yet. Our new house could be just around the corner.”
Ann scowls, “Fine.”
Ann leads as the trek further and further, sooner or later they reach the other side of the island.
“Let's head back,” her father says quietly. Ann thinks he's about to cry.
Ann nods and they turn around, hardly taking in the beauty of the waves crashing against rock.
They walk back as swiftly as they can, Ann's father muttering curses similar to, “For all the money I've given to the army this is what I get in return!”
They reach the beach their family and slaves are at, a faint trail being created in their tracks.
“Nothing,” Ann's father growls.
“I'm not surprised,” Ann's mother says with a glare. “There aren't any trails besides the ones you've created.”
“What do we do now?” Ann's brother says in tears.
“We survive,” Papa replies.
Months later and one of the Russell family's slaves died from a snake bite that was infected. The family had discovered a food source from the fish, of course the slave would do that while the rest of the family would make mortar from the shells of conch. They later worked next to their last slave to make housing that was only about sixty-four square feet. They continued to make mortar for housing, cook fish for food, and made a well for drinking. The family slowly came to terms with their life and learned how to not just live but thrive.