A dystopian trilogy (Matched, Crossed, and Reached) by Ally Condie, started in 2010 and concluded in 2012.In The Society, everything is figured out based on statistics. What you eat. Which job you'll do best at. Who your optimum partner for marriage and children is. The Society has even determined the best age for people to die at.Cassia has always trusted their judgment. A little loss of freedom is a small price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, and the ideal mate. She's delighted during her Matching Ceremony when it's her childhood best friend, Xander, who appears on screen. But another face flashes on screen for a second, casting Cassia in uncertainty. Now she's beginning to question the perfect life she was once so content to live, and the powers that decided it for her.
Arc Words: Dylan Thomas' poem, "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night," has more force and meaning every time it's quoted.
In Crossed, it's Tennyson's "Crossing The Bar."
Aerith and Bob: Character names can vary from Indie and Vick to Sarah and Catherine.
Black Market: The Archivists trade in illegal literature and information.
Bread and Circuses: As Cassia observes, citizens are given just enough freedom to keep them too content to rebel.
"They are giving us pieces of a real life instead of the whole thing. They have perfected the art of giving us just enough freedom; just enough that when we are ready to snap, a little bone is offered and we roll over, belly up, comfortable and placated like a dog." - Cassia
Chekhov S Gun: In Matched the hikers were told to remove the flags that they had tied on the Hill, which would have enabled the Society to lay paths on the Hill. The reason why the flags were no longer required was revealed in Reached, when Ky discovers that the Hill had been flattened.
Also mentioned in Matched was Cassia's mother's job assignment, where she had to travel to the Farmlands to investigate some crops. She mentioned a crop called sego lilies. The importance of it was revealed in Reached where it was the key ingredient to creating a cure for the mutated Plague. The best part? Sego lilies apparently have another name, called mariposa lilies, and nobody (except Anna) knew that the two seemingly different plants were actually the same. Even more awesome, Cassia's mother's knowledge of the location of the sego lily fields gave Cassia the chance to save her mother first.
Blue - emergency hydration. Actually it makes you lose water faster. It was designed so that anyone who manages to escape the society cannot survive without them.
Red - erases your memory of the past twelve hours.
The books themselves. Matched featured a girl in a green dress in a green bubble, Crossed had a girl in a blue shirt and blue pants breaking out of a blue bubble, while Reached showed a girl in a red dress emerging from a red bubble. Of course, the colors on the covers are meant to correspond to the colors of the pills.
The Complainer Is Always Wrong: Lon, a classmate of Cassia's who irritates everyone with his constant questions. Later on Ky actually comes to appreciate his outspoken nature.
On a bigger scale, all of The Society functions like this.
Crippling Overspecialization: One of the tenets of the Society. According to them, the previous society was overloaded with choices. People only learn what is required for their job, and every major life decision is left up to them.
Dark and Troubled Past: Ky's father associating with the rebels lead the family to be reclassified as Aberrations and moved to the desolate Outer Provinces. When the area was bombed Ky was the only survivor. He was taken away by Society officials before he could bury his parents. Since the memory-wiping drug doesn't affect him, he remembers all of this but can never speak to anyone about it.
Due to the Dead: Ky and Vick make a point of burying their fellow soldiers, reciting "Crossing The Bar" in lieu of a prayer.
Ky later reveals that his biggest regret is leaving his parents' bodies unburied.
Dystopia Is Hard: The Society is facing a shortage of manpower to monitor the Citizens, for one thing, and is struggling to find more efficient means of running things.
Follow the Leader: Like other dystopian romances published in the same time period, it wants to catch some of the sun that The Hunger Games is basking in. In this case, Cassia is Katniss, Xander is Gale, Ky is Peeta, Bram is Prim, and Eli is Rue.
Some detractors have noted that the Society is uncomfortably similar to the Community.
Future Imperfect: Zig-zagged. The Society has picked one-hundred of the best of everything of the past for everyone to know, but they don't know about the rest.
Genre Savvy: Ky has evidently read 1984, judging by his knowledge of how the Prisoner's Dilemma works.
Government Drug Enforcement: The pills everyone carries with them at all times, and are occasionally ordered to take by an official. The green pill is taken to calm people down, the blue pill is poison disguised as an emergency nutrient, and the red pill wipes your memory of the past 12 hours.
Grey and Gray Morality: Various characters note that the Rising and Society have a lot in common. It turns out that this is because the Society had infiltrated the Rising so deeply that by the time the rebellion actually occurred, it was simply the Society changing their name and then going about business as usual.
Hands-On Approach: Ky teaches Cassia how to write cursive by drawing the letters in the dirty with sticks.
Hidden Depths: Ky is a poet and can draw recognizable portraits even on a dirty napkin. Xander has a well hidden jealous streak: when they were younger, he dared Ky to take the red tablets without knowing what they did, which is how they find out about the memory-wipe effect.
Hoist by His Own Petard: The Society created a virus as a means of destroying the Enemy, but it eventually mutated into the plague that nearly wiped out The Society.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: As part of Cassia's job as a sorter, she's asked to sort a group of Aberration workers she's studying into two groups based on their efficiency. Ky happens to be one of them. While she's watching, she guesses The Society must need the best workers for something else, and also realizes the reason Aberrations tend not to live long is because the chemicals they're made to work with are highly toxic. Cassia moves Ky to the high-efficiency group, thinking she's spared him from an early death. The next day the officials comes for Ky, and it's revealed the high-efficiency group are being moved to the Outer Provinces to fight The Enemy, which is a guaranteed death sentence.
In Crossed Cassia gives an Aberration boy some of her blue hydration pills in return for helping her, not realizing the pills actually cause you to dehydrate faster. She later finds him dead in the canyon, with blue fluid staining his mouth.
No Hugging, No Kissing: Cassia and Ky. Justified, since their relationship is forbidden on multiple levels, they have to keep up the pretense of being just-friends. Getting caught would be extremely serious.
No Name Given: The boy who runs away from the village with Cassia and Indie.
No Sell: On a rare occasion, someone might have a natural resistance to the red memory-erasing tablet, such as Xander, Ky, and Indie. However, they still have to act like it works on them so as not to catch The Society's attention.
Not in This for Your Revolution: Ky doesn't trust the Rising any more than The Society, since his father's revolutionary activity is what got their village destroyed and the Rising never came to help. He does join, but mostly for Cassia's sake.
Note to Self: Cassia writes "Remember" to herself right before being forced to take a red pill to know that she has forgotten something important.
Perfectly Arranged Marriage: The Society determines who will be the best partner for you based on statistics and "matches" you to them. And apparently...it works! We don't see a single unhappy matched couple over the course of the trilogy.
Poor Communication Kills: Almost literally — neither the unnamed boy nor Indie tell Cassia that the blue tablets she carries around and refers to as the key to survival are actually poison. Despite what must seem like very strange statements about them, they assume she already knows.
Refusal of the Call: Vick and Indie believe Ky to be the future "Pilot," the mythical leader of the Rising. He denies it.
Rule of Three: There are three books in the series (it's called a trilogy for a reason), there are three pills; green, blue and red, and in Reached there are three narrators, namely Cassia, Ky and Xander.
Tall Poppy Syndrome: The more competent among the workers are drafted into the army and sent to war. Ky works hard to avoid this by being as average as possible.
Too bad it's subverted by Cassia (albeit she did it unknowingly and with good intentions) when she sorted him into the higher skilled group, only to cause him to be drafted.
Tomato in the Mirror: At the end of Matched Cassia is told that someone put the Aberrations into the matching pool, which is how Ky ended up on her microcard. During Reached Cassia remembers that it was actually her that did it.
Troubled, but Cute: Ky has a troubled past. While it isn't explicitly mentioned if he is attractive, it's pretty much implied anyway. And honestly, is there any male lead in young adult novels who isn't physically attractive?
What the Hell, Hero?: In Crossed Cassia calls Ky out for burning the map that leads to the Rising, taking her choice away from her. He retorts that she did the same thing when she sorted him at the nutrition center.
Xanatos Gambit: Near the end of the first novel, it's revealed that The Society have known about Cassia's secret relationship with Ky the whole time, and have been using it as an experiment to prove that Matching indeed makes people fall in love, since without it she would never have known Ky. If she had picked Xander, then they would have known that she was willing to obey what was expected of her. Either way, the Society would get what they wanted. Ky was also told about him being matched to Cassia in Matched.
It should be noted that while the Official tried to avoid admitting it, The Society weren't the ones who put Ky's image on the microcard. They more or less just ran with it and spun it whatever way proved their system worked.
Subverted somewhat in Reached when Xander mentioned that Ky already loved Cassia back when they were still kids.