"Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.
The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow."
I should start off by saying that dystopian literature, especially young adult dystopian literature, is my absolute favorite genre of books, and as Matched falls nicely into this category, I may have been a little biased from the start.
The society presented by Ally Condie in this book is one that in many ways is just like our own. Except for a few details. Almost every aspect of life is controlled in order to insure an optimal life. This means that the society chooses when and what you eat, who you will marry (become matched with), and even when you will die. Cassia, the main character, begins the book excited by the future in front of her. She has the perfect best friend, who she ends up matched with, and her life seems to be a happy one. Until her grandfather, some poetry, and a boy named Ky Markham makes her question everything she's known.
The characters in this book were great. I loved both Xander and Ky, the two main male characters, their interactions with Cassia, and almost more importantly, their interactions with each other, few though they were. I loved the concept of a society who has cut back on the "clutter" of life, so that all that remains is one hundred of the most important of everything. The one hundred poems, paintings, stories, songs...
This book was a dystopian with a heavy emphasis on the romance aspect, though it never felt as though the rest of the plot suffered. Rather the love Cassia had for both Xander and Ky only made the story better. There were some chilling moments in the story, such as when the reader finds out what the pills each citizen carries are for.
The ending was great as well. Without giving anything away, the second book, Crossed, which comes out in November I believe, should start off with Cassia in a very different place from where she began Matched, and I think that will keep the second of the planned trilogy from becoming stale or repetitive.
Other books I'd recommend:
The Giver by Lois Lowry
The Uglies Trilogy by Scott Westerfeld
The Declaration Trilogy by Gemma Malley
The Hunger Games Trilogy by Susanne Collins