Publisher: Dutton Books
Release date: November 30, 2010
Summary (from Good Reads): Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.
The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.
Novels like Matched kind of freak me out. Thinking about what the world will be like hundreds or years from now, when all the books and songs and poems I love are gone makes me panic a little and want to hold onto everything as much as I can for as long as I can. that's why I tend not to think about it. Matched, though, forces you to think about it.
I thought Matched was a wonderful debut. There were areas that for me, were lacking. I would have liked just a little more explanation of the Society and how things came to be, and I would have loved to know what year the novel takes place in. I know it's not necessarily important information to have, but I've noticed in dystopian novels that the year the story takes place is often not given, and it drives me absolutely nuts. For me, those were just little things, though. Since Matched is the first of a trilogy, I assume that my questions will be answered in the next two novels.
I really liked Cassia. I loved it that she wants to know more about the past, the things they aren't to know, like the poems they're not allowed to read or songs they're not allowed to hear. I like it that she knows her strengths, and that when she struggles, she is able to draw on those strengths as well as the memory of her grandfather, who was another source of strength for her. I like it that she thinks for herself. And I enjoyed Cassia's relationships with Xander and Ky, which, to an extent, reminded me of Katniss's relationships with Gale and Peeta in The Hunger Games trilogy (and for the record, I'm Team Xander). I also liked it that Cassia wasn't a completely passive character. There wasn't a lot of action in this novel, and in a way, it did read very much like a prologue, but Cassia's desires and small actions made her an active character for me, not a passive one. Sometimes, it's the little things people do (like memorizing a poem she's not supposed to ever have read) are the things that have the greatest impact, and I think Xander and Cassia are perfect examples of this, though I won't say anything else, since I don't want to give anything away.
The story is great. I was bored in a couple of places because there's not a lot of action, but overall, the story is interesting and told smoothly throughout the novel. Even though there were things I wanted to know, I was never confused by anything that was happening. Matched struck the perfect balance for me: It let me think about what the world could be like hundreds of years from now without actually freaking out about it (although the idea of there only being 100 poems and 100 songs and 100 paintings, etc. because more than that is too overwhelming was an idea that appalled me). I loved the way Condie wrote about things of the past, like the artifacts, and I loved the subtle differences from the past and the present (handlocks v. handcuffs, for example). Though it's not fully explained, the Society is believable, and that's a key aspect. I know nothing like the Society will ever exist during my lifetime, but someday, it could. Matched is the kind of novel that keeps me thinking, long after I'm done reading. What would I do if I were Cassia? If I had the opportunity now, would I do everything possible to stop that kind of society from coming into existence, or would I want to live in that kind of society? Would I want other people to control nearly every aspect of my life, in exchange for happiness and health? I love it that Matched raised these kinds of questions for me, and I can't wait to see how the rest of the story unfolds.
Cover rating: 5/5