Author: Ally Condie
# of Pages: 400 (although the actual story is a little less than that—I’m just too lazy to get out my own copy and look it up)
I don’t know how it’s possible, but the idea of a teen dystopian novel just never seems to get old for me, especially when there’s a love triangle involved (as long as that love triangle isn’t frustrating of course, a la Twilight or even The Hunger Games). I first heard of this trilogy by Ally Condie when Matt and I went on this date night, but I didn’t get interested until I started talking to one of the other women at church who had been anxiously awaiting the release of Crossed, the second book in the trilogy. As we all know, I can’t stand to be out of the loop in the tight-knit reading club of America, so I asked for Matched for Christmas, and my sister-in-law so graciously indulged me.
Matched tells the story of Cassia, a 17-year-old girl living in what would seem to be the perfect society, where vocations are assigned to you based on your interests and skills, where mutations and disease have been bred out of the population, and where everyone dies at the age of 80 after a celebratory banquet in their honor (at which they are present). But the most intriguing aspect of the society (and the fundamental key to its success) lies in the Matching Ceremony–a ceremony where youth go at the age of 17 to discover who their ideal match (and future spouse) will be, based on years of data compilation of the two subjects. Although rare to be matched with someone from your own town, Cassia is happily surprised to find that she has been matched with her lifelong friend, Xander. However, everything veers off course when for a brief second, Cassia sees another face on her Matched microcard that is NOT Xander’s–but rather her other long-time (but less known) friend, Ky. Despite the Officials of the society coming by to say that a terrible mistake had been made and Ky’s face was not supposed to be there, Cassia becomes caught in the confusion of trying to know who her true match is, and in the process, she starts to develop a forbidden love that threatens to tear apart everything that she knows and loves.
Although part of a trilogy, Matched is fun to read in its own right–I mean, who doesn’t love a good story of forbidden love, serendipitous mistakes, and a little bit of rebellion against The Man? The book doesn’t wrap things up as neatly as say, the first Hunger Games did (which could be read and understood pretty much in its entirety without reading the rest of the trilogy). In other words, to find out the rest of the story, I’ll absolutely have to read the next two books (the third one of which doesn’t come out until November. This must be the year where I start trilogies that don’t have all the pieces yet). However, the book is a quick read, with a strong female lead that doesn’t annoy me (yet) and a slightly different twist on the idea of the dystopian society. Of course, the creepiest thing about most dystopian novels is that most have elements of truth in them that reflect how society is already trending. The Matched series reminds me of the eHarmony trend–how long will it be before we’re all matched to our “soulmates” by electronic data? But that’s a different blog post for a different day.
Have any of you read Matched? What did you think of it?
My Rating: 4.5 Stars