Title: Matched (Book 1 of Matched Trilogy)
Author: Ally Condie
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Release Date: November 30, 2010
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.
I reread Matched in order to be prepared for Crossed, which I received for Christmas last year (wow – that took a while!), as well as for Reached which is being released soon, this November! I’m very happy that I took the time to reread, because while everything was vaguely familiar and came back to me as I read, I would have been lost if I had decided to just pick up the second book in an attempt to jump right back in.
The three main characters, the love triangle – Xander, Cassia, and Ky – were fascinating. I loved the boy next door element with Xander, but also the forbidden secret romance with Ky. I am definitely a Team Ky person, but I really do love Xander in his own way, which makes me feel even worse for Cassia because she has to choose, as well as for him because he got the bad end of the bargain. Still, I appreciate everything that he does for her.
Cassia’s family is amazing, as well. Bram is a clever, funny boy who never fails to capture my heart. If I were Cassia, I would never be able to leave such an adorable little brother behind – having the annoying real thing has made me very appreciative of the cute younger brother rather than the boorish one. Her parents are also very interesting, and diverse, too, creating even more turmoil as she tries to control her inner conflict. Their obvious love for each other, and the things they do because of or in spite of it, makes Cassia’s thoughts very interesting to read.
Because the book is a dystopian novel, of course I despise the Society. It is by no means perfect, and the mistakes and lies and deceit and coverups that they provide are disgusting. It is sickening to listen to the Officials whip up a lie in two seconds flat and have no one question it. The games that they play, the experiments on people’s lives, is absolutely horrifying – it would be enough to make any normal person from the real world insane attempting to decipher what is real, what is Society, and what has been influenced by Society. Just writing that has begun my thoughts to head in the direction of headache-land.
The book itself was well-written; I love Cassia, and am so glad to be able to follow her story. I would definitely recommend this book to teenagers, especially girls who perhaps don’t enjoy reading very much. I have had several such people tell me that they have enjoyed the books very much. Onward to Crossed!