Sunday, January 9, 2011

Matched - Ally Condie

For Cassia, nothing is left to chance--not what she will eat, the job she will have, or the man she will marry. In Matched, the Society Officials have determined optimal outcomes for all aspects of daily life, thereby removing the "burden" of choice. When Cassia's best friend is identified as her ideal marriage Match it confirms her belief that Society knows best, until she plugs in her Match microchip and a different boy’s face flashes on the screen. This improbable mistake sets Cassia on a dangerous path to the unthinkable--rebelling against the predetermined life Society has in store for her.  - From Amazon.com

This ended up being one of my favorite books of 2010.  Although I read YA/Teen fiction all of the time, I had somehow managed to accidentally avoid this type of book.  So this was the first time I've read a dystopian, and I am so happy that I did.

Aside from the fact that the basic plot was so unique, the author did an excellent job in setting up the reader to understand and dislike the constraints of Cassia's social world.  There was such detail that it made me feel as if I was really there and could picture those circumstances, settings, and social/governmental strictures personally.  It reminded me somewhat of The Giver, but was unique enough that you didn't feel like it was a copy of that book.

I had read mixed reviews on how quickly the relationship developed between Cassia and the guy she falls for (no, I'm going to avoid saying which one, Ky or Xander).  I did not find this to be a factor at all.  In a society where pretty much all personal freedoms have been removed, your feelings and emotions are the only thing you have left, even though society tries to control those too.  The two characters wanted, in their hearts, to break out of those strictures, and I think this sucked them into their own romance even more quickly than if they didn't live under the disciplines of their community.  I loved these two together.

I can't get by without a brief nod at "the other guy" as well.  I really liked his character, and was so happy that the author did not choose to turn him into the cliche of jealous boyfriend who shows his "true colors" as being dark and ugly.  He stayed true to who he truly was.

I can't wait for the sequel to come out, as this one ends with a few "unresolved issues" I guess you could say.  Of course, these unresolved issues don't detract from the enjoyment of the book at all but serve more as a cliff hanger and an invitation to read the sequel.  I'll leave it at that, as I don't want to ruin anything for those who haven't read the book. 

I loved this book and would definitely re-read it in future.

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