February 1, 2011

Review: Matched by Ally Condie

Rated: 8 out of 10
Matched by Ally Condie
Published November 2010
(Author Website)  (Book Website)
Summary from book website:
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.
When we meet Cassia it is the night of her Match banquet. The night that  she will learn who she will spend the rest of her life with, who she will have children with, who will be her constant companion. When she stands to see her Match she learns that it is none other then her childhood friend, Xander, handsome, funny, and home. Cassia is extremely pleased with her Match. It couldn't have gone better. She doesn't even plan on looking at her micro card to read more about Xander; she knows him so well after all.  But the night she truly decides to pick up and see what is on her card about Xander it isn't Xander that looks back at her through the Port. It's another boy, a different boy, but a boy she already knows.  This shakes Cassia to her core. The Society doesn't make mistakes. Why, then, would Ky's picture show up where Xander's should have been?

Matched was marketed as being similar to The Giver in it's seemingly perfect society that truly isn't all that perfect. I have read The Giver, and I've read and Matched. (Sadly I quit working at the library and had to give The Giver back before finishing it. I haven't had the chance or remembered to buy it the few times I've made it to the bookstore in the past few weeks. If Jannsen, of Everyday Reading, joined The Giver party late when she read it at nineteen I joined it almost ten years later. What does that say about me? But, lets move on.) Both are beautiful, and both say so much about life without being overbearing. Ally Condie, the author of Matched, is a wonder writer. Her world and characters felt so small and intertwined that I felt like I could have been one of them. I could have befriended Cassia. I could have fallen in love with her Match Xander. I could completely understand Cassia's inner struggle when it came to coming to terms with the Society she has always known and believed in.

Yes, this is dystopian fiction, and yes it is pretty routine where dystopians are set. A society that is seemingly perfect, a young adult who learns otherwise, who feels betrayed, and is forever changed when she/he learns about the lies they've been feed their whole lives. And, yes, dystopians are being published like crazy, but this book I readily gave away to be read. I felt like I had to share the book. It was beautifully written. It made you think, and honestly I think it falls more along the lines of a mystery that is slowly being unravelled all the while making you think and ponder about of life's most amazing phenomenons, love.

I can't wait to read what happens to Cassia, Xander, and Ky next. I hope everyone gives Matched a try, even if dystopians aren't your thing.

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