Ally Condie's series starts out strong. In The Society in which Cassia lives, everyone is healthy, no one is poor, and you're matched with your perfect partner at 17. Of course, if you're an Aberration, The Society doesn't match you with anyone. So why is Cassia matched with Ky, who everyone knows is an Abberation? And why is that match quickly replaced with Xander, her childhood friend? If The Society is perfect, what happened?
Condie creates a convincing Big Brother-type world. The Society has decided that too much of a good thing is just too much, so it chooses 100 poems, books, works of art, and songs to keep and destroys the rest.
Your life exists on your microcard, which is convenient for The Society, as they can monitor everything you do. And all those healthy people? The Society has decided on an end date, so when you reach 85, your family celebrates. But Cassia's grandfather has a secret, which he shares with her on his end day. Suddenly, everything she knows about The Society is brought into question, and her feelings for Ky just add to her confusion.
The first book in the series is just about perfect in its depiction of a dystopian world that has some hints of our own society (no one is taught how to write, so Ky's ability to do so gives him a hidden way to communicate with Cassie, after he teaches her this highly forbidden skill.) When Cassie reads the poem her grandfather gave her, Dylan Thomas's Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, she realizes that the end day celebration might not be something everyone would choose.
The second book, Crossed, is still strong, and reveals more about The Society and the inevitable group of resisters. I was very disappointed in the final book, Reached, but not all of my students agreed with me, and were happy to see most of the story lines tied up.
The covers sadly make this book more popular with girls than boys, but the boys I've shared it with enjoyed it. The violence is mostly not too detailed, and the romance is definitely in the "longing looks and lingering kisses" stage, so it's appropriate for 6th and up. I just wish Condie had edited heavily and made this a single book, as it would have been a blockbuster. Instead, it joins several other dystopian trilogies in tailing off in the third book.