Author: Ally Condie
Released: November 30, 2010
Genre: Dystopian YA
Cassia is looking forward to her Matching Banquet when she'll learn who the Society Matched her with. Her belief that the Society knows what it's doing is confirmed when she's Matched with her best friend. Xander. But when she gets home and pulls up the information on the microcard they've given her, another boy's face flashes on the screen before it goes blank - Ky, another boy she knows. An Official comes to her to give her the correct card, but Cassia is now in turmoil - she's falling in love with Ky, someone she could never be seen having a "fling" with, and besides that lots of things are happening to make her doubt the perfection of the Society. She begins thinking for herself, wanting a choice in her life, something unheard of in the improved, regulated Society.
Matched is a book that really makes you think. It touches on many issues worth thinking about - love, censorship, choices, freedom. Many parts of the book remind me of 1984 and Fahrenheit 451, with constant supervision and even dream-tracking, and the way only a select few works of art, literature, and poetry are allowed to survive. And I think Ally Condie does a really good job of exploring these topics for teens the way those books do for adults. I love that the book is open-ended, that there is no neat resolution, because that is a mark of a book that really is meant to make you think.
But even so, it was great to have compelling characters. Cassia, Ky, and Xander are all interesting in their own ways, and the other smaller characters add to the construction of what's accepted and what's considered breaking out in this dystopian society. I love that Cassia is not at all passive, that she's a thinker and can think for herself even before everything starts to change, before Ky starts to affect her. This book is very like Delirium in its concept, and that was the one thing that bothered me about Delirium - that Lena seemed a bit weak until Alex started bending the way she thought about things. Cassia is a strong girl in her own right, and the choices she makes are all her own.
I love the writing style, too. The story speeds along, slowing down at fitting moments, speeding up when confusion abounds. I felt completely involved in the new Society, and I actually physically felt fear when Cassia faced choices or was called out by Officials!
This is a really great book - thought-provoking and a great love story at the same time.