Matched by Ally Condie
Author: Ally Condie
Publication Date: November 30, 2010
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Dystopian
Source: Bought it
Book Description from Publisher: 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 was drawn to this book by the gorgeous cover. The sheen of the dress and being trapped in a bubble creates a simple image, but because it’s placed in such a sparse background it really makes it pop. I read the synopsis and it was toted as a romance in a dystopian world and since I was still on my dystopian binge reading phase I decided to pick it up.
The story really draws you in with the first few chapters that describes the Matching ceremony- which really acts like a rite of passage prom for these Society controlled teenagers. You get the extravagant dress, meal, and your date will be provided courtesy of match makers that will pair you with your perfect - for the purposes of breeding and lifetime pairing - match. That is unless you’re Cassia whose perfect match happens to be at the same Matching ceremony and happens to be her best friend Xander - so their courtship isn’t what would be considered normal from hereon.
In the Society everything and everyone is carefully controlled and regulated. Honestly, they don’t eat, sleep or void their bowels, without the Society having a hand in it. They even require everyone to carry this nifty box of pills that are reminiscent of The Matrix’s red and blue pill, with an added green pill, which if you’ve seen The Matrix, you know these can’t be a good sign of what’s to come.
The setting is pretty limited, and most of Cassia’s non working time is spent in a theatre or games hall in polite structured interactions with Xander. But it’s the forbidden moments in the forest with love interest number two: Ky, that really picks up the pace of the story. However, this supposed love triangle seemed to be pointed in a very specific direction.
The romance is tepid at most, there’s nothing too intense or particularly passionate about it. It’s primarily about Cassia and Ky discovering each other’s interests (since Cassia and Xander know the other so well) which happens to involve a lot of forbidden poetry- so on the bright side it’s not insta-love.
Cassia’s character is torn between doing what she’s been taught to do by society, and what she wants to do. She’s rigid in her performance in front of officials, but I really like her when she has a spark of rebellion in her eye.
Xander is ultimately the good boy, the boy your parents would be proud to have you Matched to. He’ll care for you and provide for you, he’s polite in every which way but what I really love about him is that he’s fiercely loyal and will do anything to protect Cassia.
Ky on the other hand is of course the bad boy, the seducer, the Society lets him live a marginal life, but he has a secret and this secret is what keeps him in line. He’s probably the most intriguing character because he’s shrouded in so much mystery and you keep reading because you want to know his story! The reveals involving Ky toward the end were perfect at bringing some closure to the big questions in the story but then it just fuels the question of, where do they go from here?
As the story progresses the cracks in the Society are revealed until at the tip of the ice berg critical decisions are made that causes the Societies Officials to step in, which creates the most heart stopping parts of the story when Cassia’s entire world crumbles. Really for me what was worth the read was all the reveals and what was going on outside of the Society’s control that was far more interesting than the romances that we were supposed to be focusing on.
All in all it was a quick read, and had some enjoyable moments if you don’t delve too deeply into thinking about it; there’s certain elements to how the society is run that really irks me for instance the whole they’re allowed to read but not write thing. It’s sequel Crossed is sitting on my to-be read pile, the ending of Matched really left the door wide open so I am curious as to how this will play out.
Rating: 3/5 Drinkable Cups of Tea
It's a simple pleasure read.