Cassia has lived her entire life in the Society, and is grateful for the many ways in which the authorities make life easier for all citizens. Using advanced computer models, the officials match each person not only to the perfect job, but also to the perfect person: anyone who wishes to get married is Matched.
Since it is unusual for Matches to come from the same City, Cassia is both shocked and thrilled when she is partnered with her best friend Xander. But when she tries to access the datacard she has been given, another face flashes in front of her. The officials insist it is a mistake, that the other boy, Ky, is not even eligible to be Matched, for mysterious reasons. Cassia tries to believe them, but as she is driven by curiosity to spend more time in Ky’s company, she starts to realize that Ky, like Xander, is special to her.
This book was more than just a teen love triangle. In fact, that aspect of the book was fairly tame, as it seemed obvious to me who Cassia was going to end up with. Rather, this is a book about choices, about who should get to make the choices, and the reasons why we might allow others to make our choices. I liked that even at the same time that Cassia is questioning the way the Society is run, she also acknowledges the ways in which it achieves worthwhile goals such as safety and prosperity for all. So many dystopian societies are portrayed as completely corrupt and evil, leaving the reader to wonder why the citizens would ever participate. Here the author makes it clear that for most people the Society is providing them with exactly what they want, what they need, and what makes them happy. It’s only the outsiders, the people like Cassia, that are beginning to feel the constraints of a world that is slowly sinking.