3.5 stars. I found it really hard to buy into the concept of this near-future dystopia. It seems like the author took every Cold War era scare catchphrase about communism (everyone will have to wear the same clothes! no one will be able to choose their own job! the government will tell you who to marry! etc.) and decided that her dystopia would be comprised solely of a conglomeration of these anti-individualistic fears. I was extremely skeptical that our society could possibly have shifted into that society in just 75 or so years. I mean, in the Society, each person is allowed only one "artifact," or heirloom personal item (Cassia has her great-grandmother's compact, her brother has a watch), and I just cannot see us agreeing to part with our stuff under any circumstances. And for those who think stuff is bad? Well, how about no creativity either? In the Society, there are only one hundred instances of each art form saved from before (a hundred poems, a hundred paintings, a hundred songs, etc.), and no one really creates new ones (if they did, they'd probably get into trouble). I just flat out didn't buy it as such a near future.After fifty pages or so, I forced myself to stop picking at the shoddy explanations for how the Society came to be and why people don't mind that they're not allowed any choice in their own lives and eventually became engrossed in the story. Once I forced myself over the hurdle of disbelief, I did get caught up in Cassia's and the other characters' conflicts. I liked Cassia, Xander (her best friend/sanctioned match), Ky (the true match), and even Cassia's supportive, morally conflicted parents. (Thinking back on the book, Cassia's parents and the choices they made in this book are actually some of my favorite parts.)Overall, this book is definitely worth the read. I think people who haven't read much fantasy and sci-fi might actually enjoy it more than those who have--this could be a good "gateway" book for teens/YA fans who don't normally read sci-fi.