The Selection

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For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself—and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

Curriculet Details
72 Questions
70 Annotations
3 Quizzes

Designed for students in eighth grade, this free digital curriculum contains annotations explaining dystopian fiction and literary techniques. It also contains interactive videos that support comprehension, such as videos about figurative language and conflict. Over the course of the book, students will answer Common Core questions and quizzes related to the subjects of characterization, plot development, and theme. This free online unit will increase student engagement while building reading comprehension.

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Chapter 1

Why do you think the word "One" is capitalized in this context? 
Based on the clues in this paragraph, what can you infer about the setting of this story? 
Here we see the emergence of a theme: what sacrifices will this character have to make for the sake of her family? 
Based on the word choice in the highlighted paragraph, how does the main character feel about the Selection? 
Here we get a sense for how tight the family's budget is. They can each have one glass of iced tea with dinner, and they don't have enough food to have more than one serving each. 
List two details that indicate that America is used to sneaking out of her house and into the tree house. 

Chapter 2

Note the detail we're told about the caste system in Illea. We can start to see how the feelings between America and Aspen could be a source of conflict throughout the novel. Watch the video below to learn more about conflict. Are we seeing the beginning of an internal or external conflict? (This annotation contains a video)
What does this conversation reveal about Apsen's personality? 
Here is more evidence of the theme of making sacrifices for those we love. 
Follow the link below to read the balcony scene from Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet," where the forbidden relationship between the two young lovers famously begins. Then answer the question that follows. (This annotation contains a link)
While both couples are engaged in forbidden behavior, how does the excerpt from Romeo and Juliet differ from this scene between Aspen and America? What similarities do you see? Consider the structure, language, and content of both scenes. 
Why does America refer to the sound of the penny dropping in the jar as a "happy sound"? 

Chapter 3

Notice another clue about the futuristic setting: there is no North and South Carolina, just "Carolina." 
What does Aspen's insistence on having savings tell us about him? 
Can you think of other books you've read or movies you've seen where this idea of love not being enough for a relationship to survive has been portrayed?  
Citizens of Illea are placed into their castes based on 
A dystopia is a society where some important element is undesirable or frightening, often characterized by dehumanization, totalitarian governments, or ecological disaster. What elements of the Illean society already fit that definition? 
How can America tell that the girl behind her is from a lower caste? 
The whole conversation about Aspen's secret girlfriend is an example of dramatic irony. Watch the video below to learn more. (This annotation contains a video)

Chapter 4

The author uses words like "elegant" and "regal" to describe the queen and  Prince Maxon. That word choice creates a ______ tone towards the royal family. 
Brave New World was published in 1932. The Selection was published eighty years later. How is the motif of a society based on castes portrayed differently in this novel than in Brave New World? 
Follow the link below to read Chapter One of "Brave New World," a novel set in a dystopian future where embryos are sorted into specific castes. Then answer the question that follows. (This annotation contains a link)
"Forte" is a musical term meaning to play loudly. You can see the symbol below. Why would Gavril Fadaye be wearing a gold "F" pin? (This annotation contains an image)
What do Maxon's reactions during the interview tell us about his character? 
From the clues, it sounds like it is illegal to have sex before you're married in Illea. 

Chapter 5

Why is Aspen so upset during this scene in the tree house? 
How is Aspen breaking up with America evidence of the theme of sacrificing for loved ones? 
Before we know the results, make a prediction: Will America be chosen? Why or why not? 
The highlighted section is an example of 

Chapter 6

How would it make you feel to be considered someone's property? 
America uses a type of figurative language known as a simile to express her feelings. Watch the video below to learn more about similes and their cousins, metaphors. (This annotation contains a video)
The highlighted sentence is an example of the author using                              to create suspense. 
Here we find out more detail about how this dystopian society keeps control of its citizens. 
What does America mean by saying "my voice was thick"? 
What causes America to slap Aspen? 

Chapter 7

Another dystopian novel that features a "selection" scene is "The Hunger Games." Watch the clip below and consider the differences between Katniss's and America's experiences as you read the rest of America's farewell scene. (This annotation contains a video)
How do Gerad and May deal with America's departure differently? 

Chapter 8

Do you think America has ever flown before? 
This woman's entrance tell us that she is  
At the author's website you can read a few scenes she deleted from the novel. If you scroll down to the scene titled "America and Juliet," you can read what Cass had originally intended to tell readers about this little girl. (This annotation contains a link)

Chapter 9

What does it reveal about Celeste that she's so certain Marlee had to do something to be popular? 
Why does America uses the phrase "some guy" to refer to Prince Maxon? 
Here we see the beginning of another theme--staying true to yourself no matter the circumstances. Do you think America will be able to maintain her independence? 
"Kitten heels" are a low, tapered heel on women's dress shoes, as pictured below. Their name might have derived from either the term used for teenage girls (kittens) who wore the low heel as training for higher ones, or for the petite size of the heel itself, like a kitten is a small version of a cat. (This annotation contains an image)
In response to the interviewer's question about the other girls, America gives a                       reply. 
Here we see a clue to a possible conflict. The young country of Illea has to defend itself against rebel groups. 
What meaning is the author conveying by using the phrase "elegant stampede" to refer to the women walking on the marble stairs? 
Part One 
What did America do to earn the dislike of many of the other girls? 

Chapter 10

"Hate...radiating off in waves" is an example of a 
Do you know anyone who reacts like this? 
Why doesn't America like having to command her maids? 
Panic attacks can include symptoms such as rapid heart rate, sweating, trembling, shortness of breath, chills, faintness, and dizziness. 
The phrase "ran like a drunk" is used to show that 
Using the word "shall" sounds old-fashioned and formal, not how regular people talk every day. 
With what problem is the prince concerned? 
The other women would have even more reason to dislike America if they found out she had a secret meeting with the prince. 

Chapter 11

This is probably a reference to her time with Aspen. 
Referring to the other women as "allies" instead of "friends" emphasizes 
Silvia sounds like the real-life manners maven Emily Post. She was an American author famous for writing books about etiquette in the early 1900's. Watch a few minutes of the clip below, narrated by Emily Post, to see what was considered proper behavior at the dinner table. (This annotation contains a video)
How has America's view of the prince changed since she arrived at the palace? 
Here we see the emergence of a theme of friendship. Consider the different forms a friendship can take and the responsibilities implied by those relationships--America and the prince, America and her maids, America and the other women. 
This is an example of a type of figurative language called "personification." Watch the video below to learn more. (This annotation contains a video)

Chapter 12

The highlighted phrase is an example of a 
How do you think the others view America after a response like this? She could have asked for any extravagance, but instead she asked to wear pants. 
What consolation does America have even though she lost the bet? 
The highlighted phrase is an example of a type of figurative language called "hyperbole." Watch the video below to learn more.  (This annotation contains a video)
How do you see the theme of friendship evolving during this conversation between the prince and America? 
America's reaction is evidence of the theme of 
It sounds like he's punishing a child. Does that fit your impression of the prince? 

Chapter 13

What does America's reaction to the news of the rebels tell us about her? 
Of whom is America probably thinking when she states that "Everyone was not safe"? 
What does Maxon's reaction to America's news tell us about him? 
Here we see more evidence of America deciding to stay in an uncomfortable situation in order to benefit those she loves. 
How do the attacks from the Southerners and Northerners differ? 
It sounds like this rebel group doesn't have much in the way of weapons if they're throwing palace bricks and rotten food during an attack. 
Why does Lucy not want to go to the hospital wing? 
America's resolution tells us that she is 

Chapter 14

Which of the following phrases is an example of personification? 
Note that America hasn't performed music at all since she's gotten to the palace. 
America's reaction to her appearance is further evidence of the theme of 
Marlee's choice to sit in the back row by America further develops the theme of friendship. 
Why does Olivia vomit? 
The author ends this chapter with a bit of foreshadowing. Watch the video below to learn more about this literary technique. (This annotation contains a video)

Chapter 15

The highlighted phrase is an example of 
How would you feel having the entire country watch you start dating?  
Based on his response, how does Maxon feel about Marlee? 
Note how America deciding to trust Maxon with her secret is evidence of the growing friendship between them. 
The highlighted phrase is an example of what type of figurative language? 
Note how America's feelings for Maxon continue to evolve. 

Chapter 16

Marlee's confession shows that she is 
America's responses to Marlee's question provide good examples of characterization for Prince Maxon. 
Why are some of the girls upset with America? 

Chapter 17

Why do you think peoples' knowledge of history is so varied? Why wouldn't there be history text books? 
The American debt to China is a real current problem. 
Why was the former ASC renamed after Gregory Illea? 
It appears that America is a bit jealous of Maxon's easy-going relationship with Celeste. 
Why is America confused about Maxon's request to keep news of the rebel attack quiet? 
Bariel's response shows that she has a narrow understanding of the role of a queen. 
Referring to Maxon as "the best kisser in the universe" is an example of 
The "legendary White House" to which America is referring in her fictional future is the current home of our president in Washington, D. C., as pictured below.  (This annotation contains an image)
Maxon is upset because 
Note how unaware Maxon is of conditions in his own country. 
Part Two 
How does America get Maxon to understand why people steal? 

Chapter 18

Why do you think Maxon doesn't just explain himself right away? Why make the women wait until the next night? 
Why did the maids make America a red dress? 
The author compares the color of Kriss's dress to 
Even though the women are all in competition for the same prize, they show their good character by helping out America when she's in an awkward situation. 
How do you know that the king isn't happy about Maxon's new program? 
It's a stereotype of red-heads that they're stubborn and quick-tempered. 
What does America's slip of the tongue tell us about her relationship with Maxon? 
This is a very romantic setting. Something big is bound to happen. 
Why does America stop the kiss so quickly? 
Do you think America is right to give up on her relationship with Aspen? 

Chapter 19

Who is Celeste's new target? 
This sounds like a futuristic combination of the countries of Sweden, Finland and Norway. 
What does Elayna's reaction to the queen's sister tell us about her? 
What could be going on that would keep Marlee in the hot sun? 
In the highlighted paragraph, you can tell that America is                          by the queen. 

Chapter 20

If you were Marlee, would you be able to get past your feelings for the prince to make a marriage that would benefit your whole family? 
In a month, only 13 girls have left. 
Why does America leave her arm wrapped around the prince's? 
This kind of love triangle is common in teen novels. Consider the "Twilight" series and the relationship between Bella, Edward, and Jacob, or "The Hunger Games" where Katniss has to choose between Peeta and Gale. 

Chapter 21

How can you tell that Celeste and Bariel are fighting? 
This is the first mention of any pop culture we've seen in the novel. 
The highlighted phrase is an example of a 

Chapter 22

Does Maxon's reaction to America surprise you? 
Why does America let Aspen kiss her? 
This is an interesting addition. What do you think are in the shots? It could be just immunizations or it could be some kind of super-soldier formula. 

Chapter 23

How do you know that America's maids think Aspen is good looking? 
Whew! That was a close one. Aspen and America almost got caught in treasonous acts. 
What does America's decision to take her maids with her to the safe room tell us about her personality? 
It's interesting that while someone had the forethought to put plenty of supplies in the safe room, they didn't also include plenty of furniture. 
Why does America feel guilty? 
Why doesn't America cry in front of her maids? 
How do America's parents react differently to May's proclamation that America loves Maxon? 

Chapter 24

There is an actual fruit carambola that is commonly called star fruit. You can easily see why from the picture below. (This annotation contains an image)
Maxon shows his                                  by sending home most of the Selected to get them out of danger. 
It's interesting to note Maxon's reasons for keeping the other Selected at the palace. 

Chapter 25

The author is foreshadowing what America will tell Aspen about their relationship. 
Why doesn't America get back together with Aspen right away? 
Follow the link below to read about one person's vision for turning this book into a television show. Then answer the question that follows. (This annotation contains a link)
Which of the eight items on the list of changes do you agree with? What other ideas would you add? 
Part Three