In the Society, Officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die.
Cassia has always trusted their choices. It’s hardly any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one… until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path no one else has ever dared follow — between perfection and passion.
Matched has been crowned the new IT book in the YA genre. I actually read a review in Entertainment Weekly praising it and printing the huge payment the author received for this book which is the first in a trilogy. The article already mentioned movie rights so I thought not another cloying Twilight.
I am also a huge fan of The Hunger Games trilogy so I was a little hesitant in reading another YA about a dystopian society. However I downloaded the E book figuring I would start reading it one day. I read the first page then couldn’t put the book down.
I am pleased to state that I really enjoyed this book. The dystopian society initially appears as a utopian world but you soon realize it is as horrifying as The Hunger Games society. The Heroine, Cassia Reyes lives in a world where the government controls everything. Everyone wears uniform clothing, eats meals prepared by the government so no one is too thin or too fat, regulates personal belongings, euthanizes the elderly, controls what job you will do and decides who your perfect spouse will be and matches you to them.
The story begins with Cassia on her seventeenth birthday attending her Matching Banquet. Ally Condie’s description of the banquet is what hooked me. I found the ceremony where the government matches people according to their shared interests, personalities and characteristics similar to Facebook or dating websites today. Scary! Also all the citizens carry pills with them so they never have to experience strong emotions especially anxiety. Very similar to our societies use of antidepressants and anti anxiety drugs today. This controlled, futuristic society was another character in the book and I found the idea of people giving up all control over their lives to avoid any discomforts or twinge of worry extremely appropriate to today's issues.
Cassia is matched to her childhood friend, Xander and everything seems perfect. Xander is a very likable, intelligent young man. When Cassia plugs in her data card to see Xander’s information another face pops up. A boy named Ky. Ky is a boy from the Outer Provinces that is an aberration. This means he can not be matched due to some infraction to government rules in his past. Quickly the officials explain to Cassia that it was an error and she was never matched to Ky.
Cassia is soon torn between Xander and Ky and begins to question her society for the first time. The suspense builds as the government seems to know everything Cassia is going to do. Whenever she does something out of the ordinary an official states they predicted she would act that way.
There is very little action in this book. It is not the Hunger Games which is non stop action and fighting. I expect a lot more action in the second book. However there is plenty of internal struggle and this book really made me think. Made me ponder many moral and ethical issues. It raises many philosophical questions.
I enjoyed Cassia, Xander and Ky and the characters seemed much more realistic to me than the cloying, obsessed Twilight trio for example. Matched is romantic, suspenseful with a touch of mystery. I am looking forward to the second book and I enjoyed Ally Condie’s use of poetry and the power of words. Matched is about freedom of choice and how individualism should be prized not discouraged.
I give Matched 4 STARS!! Enjoy!
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile; First Edition edition (November 30, 2010)
Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.4 x 1.4 inches
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