Summary: 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.
Matched is the first book in Condie's trilogy and it is a New York Times bestseller. It will do well with teens who like love triangles and love story filled with difficult choices. However, Matched has less adult-crossover appeal than other YA books. It was a light and easy read about following your heart and falling in love, but if the love story doesn't hook you, you likely won't enjoy it.
Personally, I don't like Cassia and I think her feelings for Ky make her rather shallow. She acts every bit the seventeen-year-old girl that she is and compared to other dystopian YA heroines, she's less impressive. Cassia hates the system, but she's still technically inside the system by choosing Ky over Xander. A true act of rebellion (and a more interesting story) would have been where Cassia falls in love with someone she didn't see on the screen.
And more than that, why can't she fall for Xander? A case wasn't made for why Xander isn't the right choice for her. Xander's characterization makes him the ideal match, but because he's the system's choice, Cassia won't pick him. I'd argue that she's simply at an age where the bad boy is more appealing than the right boy. Essentially, I felt the story was driven more by teen hormones than anything else. And I'm old enough to see that Cassia's treatment of Xander makes her not worthy of either boy's affection. But again, I'm an adult reading a book that was written for a younger audience.
Ally Condie brings a unique twist to the extensive variety of YA dystopian novels out there. Parents, librarians and educators will appreciate that this is a "clean read" for those who like the dystopian genre, but who read more for the love story. I'm not dying to read the next two books, but I am curious to see where the story goes in Crossed and Reached.